COVID Is Changing Our Retirement Plans

A third of working Canadians now say they’ll probably defer retirement

By Caitlin Finlay


As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, almost half of Canadians are rethinking their retirement plans, with one-third of those still working saying they’ll likely delay retirement.

Given the devastating effects of COVID-19 within seniors’ residences, it’s perhaps not surprising that two-thirds (63%) of those responding to a recent poll say they’d now prefer to live at home during retirement rather than move to a retirement facility. The survey, conducted for the financial services and investment firm IG Wealth Management, also found that half of Canadians are now prioritizing retiring somewhere near family.

The online survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights between January 29 and February 1 and involved 1,508 adult Canadians.

Most respondents (88%) said that, given the pandemic, they’re not sure how much money they’ll need for retirement, and 46% believe they’ll need more than they had thought; 67% said they see the need for a bigger emergency fund, both before and during retirement. Two-fifths of Canadians are considering how much health-care coverage they’ll need in retirement, with half of Canadians hoping to have their estate plans in place before retirement.

The survey’s findings were less optimistic than those of a BMO poll conducted two months earlier. In BMO’s annual retirement survey, carried out in November 2020, 54% of respondents said they were confident that they’ll have sufficient funds to retire at the age they want to, which was only a 4% decrease from the 2019 survey results.

“It’s understandable that the events of the past year have caused many Canadians to pause and re-think what their futures will look like, including their plans for retirement,” Damon Murchison, president and CEO of IG Wealth Management, said in a press release. “Whether it’s staying in your current home for longer or re-evaluating how much health-care coverage might be needed, these changing priorities can have a significant impact on your finances. This makes it all the more important to have a financial plan in place that includes a robust retirement component. And, perhaps just as critically, one that can evolve and be adapted to reflect your changing priorities.”

Photo: iStock/olm26250.