canadian millennials retirement

Most Canadian millennials think conventional approach to retirement is outdated

Times have changed and waiting until retirement to enjoy life is no longer the milestone Canadian millennials and Gen Z strive for, according to a recent survey.

A Leger survey commissioned by Canadian investment service Wealthsimple found that nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of Canadians between the ages of 25 and 44 feel the conventional approach to retirement — to stop working at 65 years old to then enjoy travelling, leisure and time with family and friends — is an outdated concept.

The online money management platform says the study reflects ambition among millennials and Gen Z Canadians for "a modern form of retirement" that lets them pursue personal and professional passions throughout their adult lives.

Essentially, the path to retirement is no longer linear, but a mix of work, travel, volunteering and entrepreneurial pursuits.

"This new outlook on retirement is motivated by more than a challenging economic climate," said Mike Katchen, CEO of Wealthsimple, in a news release.

"It's a new perspective on the future driven by younger generations. They are looking for flexibility, personalization and control over their future, rather than feeling controlled by conventional wisdom."

The survey also found that early retirement (before the age of 55) has emerged as the go-to plan among 25 to 44-year-olds so they can start their own business, work at not-for-profits, or pursue a passion project — basically, not live to work for someone else.

However, fulfilling these goals isn't that easy.

Canadians are struggling with the soaring cost of living and to top it off, factors that helped previous generations get to retirement like buying a home are out of reach for a majority of millennials and Gen Z.

According to a recent report, the average price of a home in Canada will jump by almost $40,000 in two months. And the average income to buy a home in some Canadian cities is soul-crushing.

In February, Canadians expressed their bleak outlook on retirement in a depressing Reddit thread.

"I'm 42. At my current trajectory, I can expect to retire comfortably at age 275," reads the top-rated one on u/Steam20's post. "I'll be lucky if I can retire at 95," reads another.

But it's not impossible to save up for this modern retirement goal.

According to the survey, more than half of 25 to 44-year-olds are looking at self-directed investment options to support their long-term financial goals.

And the same percentage of respondents feel that investing has given them more flexibility and choice, found Wealthsimple.

Do you agree with this retirement outlook? How are you saving for your future? Let us know in the comments.

Leger conducted the online survey of 1,501 Canadians from February 5 to 13, 2024.

Lead photo by

26ShadesOfGreen / Shutterstock.com


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