No matter your age, planning for retirement is essential if you want your golden years to be as rewarding as possible.
But what is the best age to retire in Canada? When do most people retire? We answer these questions in this guide.
We also look at the retirement accounts you should have, government retirement benefits and more to help you start planning for your retirement.
- The average retirement age in Canada is 64.6, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right age for you.
- There are benefits to be had in retiring at both younger and older ages.
- Use your income streams, investments and lifestyle plans to decide when to retire.
- There are several savings accounts like RRSPs and TFSAs that you can use, as well as government benefits like the CPP and OAS to consider.
What is the Average Age of Retirement in Canada?
The official retirement age is currently 65, which is when you can start to take Old Age Security (OAS) benefits and receive unreduced Canada Pension Plan payments.
However, in 2022, the average Canadian retired just before this at 64.6 years old, according to Statistics Canada. This has increased from the average age of 64.3 in 2020 and 2021.
Men also tend to retire slightly later than women. For example, in 2022, men retired at 65.5 while women retired at 63.6. Self-employed people generally retire later (68.9 for men and 67.3 for women).
You can retire whenever you want, and it mainly comes down to whether you can afford it. If you need your government pension to survive, you may have to wait; if you have savings to support yourself, you can retire earlier.
Also, remember that if you wait until you are 70 to start claiming retirement benefits, you can get more benefits from various government pension programs.
What is the Best Age to Retire for Longevity?
When you retire, your primary concern may be your finances. But what about your actual longevity prospects? Is there an age when you can retire to live longer?
There are two different views on this:
The common-sense answer would be to retire younger, especially if you dislike your job and find the work less enjoyable as you age.
When you retire younger, you are still in good health to do what you want, which could involve travelling more. If you have a stressful job, retiring early may help reduce stress and lead to a longer and happier life.
The other argument is that you stand a better chance of living longer if you retire later.
This article looks at Oregon State University research examining the ‘Health and Retirement Study’ in America.
It found that when people retired at 66 rather than 65, their mortality rates fell by 11%.
This seems to suggest that delaying retirement could lead to a longer life. It’s unclear why, but a potential reason could be that working has social benefits. For example, when you work, you are more active and talk with more people, which could help to keep you in better health.
With the above information in mind, you might want to consider when you should retire. There are several factors involved.
For a start, if you are unhappy in your job, you may want to retire earlier, even if you have less money. But the main factors that determine when you retire are usually financial.
Where will you get money when you retire? If you’re not working, you will need some other income to keep you going.
This could involve doing part-time work, taking up a side gig, or getting money from your private or state pension. We’ll look at the specific government benefits available when you retire later.
If you are currently saving, work out how much you will have by the time you are 55, 60, 65, etc., based on your projected savings.
You may determine that you will have enough income to retire by a certain age, which can help you decide.
You may have a portfolio of stocks and bonds you have been investing in over the years, and you should be able to get a good idea of how much income this will provide over your retirement.
Calculating this can influence your decision on when to retire.
Consider the type of retirement you want. What do you want to do, for example, when you stop working?
Do you want to travel? Take up hobbies? Eat out regularly? Is there anyone you may need to support, like children or grandchildren?
If you have a large home, you may want to sell it and downsize. Then you can use this as part of your retirement income.
These factors can all influence when is the right time to retire for you.
There are several retirement accounts in Canada that you should consider looking into when you start planning your retirement:
Registered Retirement Savings Accounts (RRSPs) are registered investment accounts where you invest funds and pay no taxes on gains until you withdraw in retirement. You also get to deduct your contributions from your taxable income.
Depending on your risk tolerance and retirement date, you can choose from various investments, including stocks, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), bonds, mutual funds, GICs, etc..
Your portfolio should mirror your age and income needs. For example, if you are younger, you may want to invest in stocks because the volatility won’t matter as much, and you have time to recover if the stock market suffers a downturn.
Talk to an investment advisor about your options if you want to make the most use of your RRSP.
A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is a way to save money without paying taxes. This makes it an excellent option to get more from your savings.
While TFSA contributions are not tax deductible, your investment returns (dividends, capital gains, or interest income) are tax-free for life.
These accounts, also called taxable or open accounts, are not tax-free, but they are more flexible.
They are investment accounts where you can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and more. There are no contribution limits, so they can be a good option to have as part of your plan.
Here’s a good comparison of Registered and Non-Registered Investment Accounts.
You can use an RRIF to save for retirement. When you turn 71, your RRSP account must be collapsed and converted to an RRIF. You can also purchase annuities or withdraw your funds in cash.
RRIFs support similar investments as RRSPs; however, you cannot contribute additional funds and are required to withdraw a minimum amount each year.
Several government retirement benefits are available, and you can find out about them all on the Canadian government website.
The main benefits include the following:
This is government-funded, and it provides retirees with an income starting at age 65, but you can defer payments until later to increase them.
The amount changes, but the maximum amount you can receive at the time of writing for ages 65 to 74 is $691. For those aged 75 and over, the maximum OAS is $760.10.
Check out this OAS detailed explainer.
This is for retired Canadians without other investments. The amount you receive depends on different factors, like whether you’re married and your income. At the time of writing, the maximum monthly amount is $1,032.10.
You might also want to look into the GIS Allowance for partners.
This federal program provides a monthly income after retirement. You contribute throughout your working life, and you can start taking benefits at 65 or wait until 70 to get larger payouts. You can also collect OAS earlier at 60 with a reduction. The average amount is currently $717.15 per month.
You may want to look into CPP disability benefits as well.
Planning for retirement is important for everyone, no matter what stage you are at. Whether you have the whole of your working life ahead of you or whether you are planning to retire in a few years, it’s always a good time to start planning.
Start thinking now about what age you want to retire. Look at the different saving and investment options available in Canada, find out how much help you will get from the government, and start planning the perfect retirement for you.
There is no particular age that is healthier to retire. However, if you retire younger, there’s a chance you will have more years of good health compared to when you are older.
If you have enough money to support yourself at 60, you may want to retire early. However, if you will rely on your state pension, you may prefer to wait until 65.
The amount you need depends on the lifestyle you want to lead in retirement. A good figure to aim for is about 70% to 80% of your pre-retirement salary.
There is no proof that you live longer if you retire early. However, in general, people are in better health when they are young, which may help you to enjoy your retirement years more.
If you are not engaged in your work anymore, you are finding yourself more tired or not in good enough health, and you have enough money to support yourself, you may want to consider retiring.