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Nearly a quarter of Canadians expect their homes to be primary source of retirement income

Survey reveals 17 per cent do not know if real estate will play a major role in helping to fund their golden years

TORONTO, Feb. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - As housing prices continue to rise in large Canadian cities, nearly a quarter of Canadians plan to use their homes as their primary source of income after they leave the workforce, according to the 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement™ Index.  This survey also revealed that 17 per cent do not know if their investment in their home will serve as their primary source of income during retirement.

At the same time, 28 per cent of Canadians expect to be retired at 66. Twice that many (56 per cent) are expecting to work past the traditional retirement age, with 65 per cent citing that they will need to. The average expected retirement age is 66. But among Canadians closest to retirement, those aged 55-65, the average expected retirement age is 67.

"The average expected retirement age in Canada has hit its lowest level in four years - it's 66 this year down from a high of age 69 in 2011," says Kevin Dougherty, President, Sun Life Financial Canada. "With people living longer and more Canadians expecting to retire sooner, it's important to look at what savings you will need to be fully prepared and how having a financial plan can help protect against risks that can be magnified in retirement such as market shocks and health events." 

Canadians on average expect approximately 10 per cent of their retirement income to come from home equity. They expect:

  • 30 per cent to come from government plans;
  • 27 per cent to come from personal savings;
  • 23 per cent to come from employer plans;
  • 5 per cent to come from inheritance; and
  • 6 per cent to come from other sources.

Some market experts predict that Canadian expectations about not relying on home equity may change due to economic factors.

"Real estate will likely endure some difficulty with a slowing Canadian economy and a weak demand for the dollar," says Sadiq S. Adatia, Chief Investment Officer, Sun Life Global Investments. "With an already overheated market, there may be additional pressures from upcoming retirees who feel they lack enough savings for their retirement. As a result, they may feel the need to downsize their homes for additional income due to these economic conditions."

For more key findings and results on the 2014 Canadian Unretirement™ Index, visit For more information on retirement, visit

Canadians can calculate their own personal Unretirement™ Index score, which measures their outlook on retirement, at

About the survey

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between November 12 and 20, 2013, on behalf of Sun Life Financial.

For this survey, Ipsos Reid conducted online interviews with a sample of 3,005 working Canadians from 30 to 65 years of age from Ipsos' online panel. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.

The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within + / - 2 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2013 the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $640 billion. For more information please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Canada

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