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A new survey reveals a Canadian population that’s working harder and longer — but feeling less financially secure — than before.


Some highlights of the Canadian Payroll Association’s survey, conducted with 3,605 Canadians working in a variety of industries between June 29 and August 7 of this year:

  • More than one in five employees surveyed say they’ll need to work four years or more than they originally expected before retiring. They point to a lack of sufficient savings as the main reason.
  • Canadians’ anticipated retirement age is now 63; five years ago, it was 58.
  • Just 33 percent of respondents say they expect the Canadian economy to improve next year (this is down from a three-year average of 41 percent).
  • Forty-eight percent say it would be “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to meet their financial obligations if a paycheque was delayed by a single week.
  • Fewer than a quarter of respondents believe they could come up with $2,000 to cover an emergency.
  • About 16 percent of respondents “agree” or “strongly agree” that they’re currently overwhelmed with debt. Nineteen percent have credit-card debt; 16 percent have line-of-credit debt.
  • Twelve percent of survey participants say they doubt they’ll ever be debt-free.
  • About 47 percent of respondents currently save about five percent of their net pay.
  • Just 40 percent of respondents are covered by an employer pension.
  • More than half estimate they will have to save more than $1 million to retire.
  • Three-quarters of respondents have saved a quarter or less of their retirement nest-egg goal; among respondents aged 50 or older, about 48 percent are less than a quarter of the way to their retirement goal.

Truth to tell, the grim timbre of this survey is not so unique in the blitz of similarly grim-timbred surveys of recent times. As such, Canadians should receive this latest salvo telling them that they overspend and are cued up for a tight and uncomfortable future in the most palatable spirit they can.