Edward Jones study: Retirement is evolving, and Canadians need to adjust to keep pace

News release | July 06, 2022

On average, Canadians are wishing for 27 years of retirement, but many fear they will outlive their savings

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO – July 6, 2022 – Edward Jones Canada, in partnership with Age Wave, a thought leader on population aging, has released its second retirement study with key findings uncovering changes in how Canadians perceive and experience retirement. The 2022 study – “Longevity and the New Journey of Retirement” – examines the changing definition of retirement and how it is a journey that develops over time.

Retirement is viewed as a “new chapter in life” by the majority (54 per cent) of Canadian retirees and pre-retirees age 45+ , which is a shift from their parents’ generation for whom retirement was a time for “rest and relaxation”. Also, more than half of retirees (56 per cent) say they are “reinventing themselves” citing things such as a willingness to be more active in retirement. In fact, 60 per cent of Canadian retirees and pre-retirees say their ideal retirement includes some form of work.

Half of respondents say they would like to live to 100, and as life expectancy continues to rise, respondents say their ideal length of retirement is 27 years. However, Canadians are not adequately planning for this increased length of retirement. The study found that the average Canadian retiree started saving at 37 years old but wished they had started saving at 28. Interestingly, while the majority (58 per cent) of those within 10 years of retirement, are contributing to retirement accounts, only one-third (30 per cent) have established a thorough financial plan.

As a result, half of new retirees (0-2 years in retirement) are worried they will outlive their savings and 55 per cent of those 3-14 years in retirement have “taken action to be more financially comfortable”, such as downsizing or taking a part-time job. When asked if they feel their finances are on track, only one-third (33 per cent) of retirees in this cohort say they are in great shape financially. 

With the majority of Canadians no longer receiving defined benefit pension plans, an inability to properly plan for retirement could delay the start of this new chapter in life, as 21 per cent of retirees and pre-retirees say retirement begins when they achieve financial independence. Only 9 per cent of respondents say retirement begins at a certain age.

“Our study has uncovered that there are a multitude of social and economic factors impacting the rapid evolution of retirement in Canada”, said David Gunn, President of Edward Jones Canada. “These changes have made it more important than ever for Canadians to thoughtfully plan and save for their lengthy and uniquely personal journey in retirement. It’s never too early to start planning, and it’s never too late to recalibrate your plan to help ensure you flexibly navigate each stage of this new chapter in life.”

The Four Stages of Retirement

The firm’s first study conducted in collaboration with Age Wave in 2020 uncovered Canadian perceptions related to four key pillars in retirement: health, family, purpose, and finances. The latest 2022 study examines how these pillars evolve over time. It founds that instead of retirement being a static moment in time, it is a journey that is constantly changing, and one that has been reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, as many retirees are rethinking what really matters most. There are four stages that comprise this journey:

  1. Anticipation (0-10 years before retirement):  This represents the pre-retirement period when Canadians are focused on their careers, raising a family, and perhaps caregiving for aging parents. The actions taken here form the foundation and set the trajectory for retirement.
  2. Liberation/Disorientation (0-2 years after retirement): This is a transition period where new retirees feel a sense of freedom from the anxieties and time constraints of work and family responsibilities and freedom to pursue their purpose. While they feel liberated, many new retirees also feel disoriented and uncertain about the future.
  3. Reinvention (3-14 years after retirement): This is where Canadians actively shape their new post-work identities and lifestyles. Retirees in this stage continue to explore what retirement means for them, who they want to be, and what they’d like to be doing and with whom.
  4. Reflection/Resolution (15+ years after retirement): Established retirees have learned how to make the most of life in retirement. They have an appreciation for retirement and have learned to live within their means. Health concerns tend to outweigh financial concerns in this stage.

“While the four pillars of retirement represent the many moving parts that comprise a thorough retirement plan, the four stages of retirement highlight the importance of proactive planning and adjustments to the plan, not just leading up to, but throughout retirement itself,” said Julie Petrera, Senior Strategist, Client Needs at Edward Jones. “With this in mind, planning for retirement is not just a race to accumulate wealth, but an opportunity to develop and fulfill your unique vision of your retirement journey, at every stage.”

This vision includes things such as health and long-term care preferences and legacy and estate considerations, both of which Canadians tend to overlook. In fact, about one-third (32 per cent) of retirees do not have a will, over half (59 per cent) do not have a power of attorney, and three-quarters (77 per cent) have not established their healthcare directive or proxy. Only 18 per cent have all three of these important legacy plans in place, which highlights the ongoing need for proactive planning now, and through each stage of the retirement journey.

To read “Longevity and the New Journey of Retirement”, please click here.


A nationally representative survey was conducted online from January 4-31, 2022 by The Harris Poll among 1,003 Canadian adults age 45+ who were retired or within 10 years of retirement. Results were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

About Edward Jones Canada:

Edward Jones is a full-service investment dealer which provides a range of investment products, services and solutions to retail investors.  We have more than 850 financial advisors serving clients in Canadian communities from coast-to-coast. A member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, the firm is also a participating organization in the Toronto Stock Exchange. Edward Jones is a proud supporter of partners in the health and wellness space such as The Terry Fox Foundation, whose mission supports initiatives positively impacting cancer research. For more information, visit edwardjones.ca.

About Age Wave:

Age Wave is North America’s foremost thought leader on population aging and its profound business, social, financial, healthcare, workforce, and cultural implications. Under the leadership of co-founders Ken Dychtwald, PhD, and Maddy Dychtwald, Age Wave has developed a unique understanding of new generations of maturing consumers and their expectations, attitudes, hopes, and fears regarding their longer lives. Since its inception in 1986, the firm has provided breakthrough research, compelling presentations, award-winning communications, education and training systems, and results-driven marketing and consulting initiatives to over half the Fortune 500. For more information, please visit www.agewave.com. (Age Wave is not affiliated with Edward Jones.)

About The Harris Poll:

The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations, and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. The firm works with clients in three primary areas: building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Their mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. To learn more, please visit www.theharrispoll.com. (The Harris Poll is not affiliated with Edward Jones.)