A Quarter of Retirees Regret Retiring

Half say they retired sooner than they wanted to

By Jennifer Hughes

Photo: iStock/smartstock.


More than a quarter of Canadian retirees (27%) regret retiring and would have preferred to keep working, according to a CIBC poll conducted earlier this year. Just under half of the respondents (47%) retirees stopped working earlier than they’d planned to because they had to, due to health problems, family obligations, or employment changes.

The online poll surveyed just over 3,000 people and found that three-quarters of respondents (78%) think that semi-retiring—working fewer hours—offers the “best of both worlds,” but half said they’d prefer to continue working after turning 65 rather than face a lower standard of living.

Indeed, one of the biggest reasons for retirement regret is financial: a quarter of retirees (23%) said they’d tried to go back to work. While more than half (59%) said that they’d like to return to work for the intellectual stimulation, half (50%) stated that they’d return due to worries about their finances. However, only a third (32%) of those who sought to return to work were able to find a position at a similar level and with the same salary as they had before retirement, while 38% were able to find only jobs at lower levels and with lower pay; 30% gave up the job hunt.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of respondents said they worry about that they won’t have enough income in retirement. One reasons for this might be a lack of information—the survey found that most Canadians (89%, including those who are retired already) don’t know how their retirement income is taxed. Tax planning that makes use of strategies such as income-splitting between spouses, for example, can save thousands of dollars.

“Too many Canadians approach retirement without a plan, which can lead to unnecessary stress, worries about money, and even course corrections,” said Jamie Golombek, managing director of CIBC Financial Planning and Advice, in a statement.