When it comes to determining the ideal time in which to retire, Canadians of different ages tend to have similar views, a new report indicates.
According to TD Bank's Age of Retirement Report, baby boomers and individuals from Generation X and Y all want to retire before they turn 65. Generation X'ers are those who are between 31 and 46, while members of Generation Y are 25 to 30 years old.
Despite their desire to leave the workforce, when respondents were asked whether they had the capital necessary to retire early, 59 per cent reported having less than $100,000 in financial assets.
Cynthia Caskey, vice president and portfolio manager at TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice, said preparation is essential if workers want to retire, especially if it's before the age of 65.
"An early retirement is only achievable if you take the steps needed to get there," said Caskey. "Our research suggests that many Canadians feel they are behind when it comes to getting their finances in order for retirement."
Among the steps suggested by Caskey include regular contributions to registered retirement savings plans or tax-free savings accounts. Those behind in the saving, she says, should also follow the old adage "better late than never."
Something else financial experts say Canadians need to take into consideration before they leave their jobs is how much debt they have. According to the survey, 44 per cent of respondents said they anticipate having at least some debt when they retire. More than one in 10 - 13 per cent - stated they would likely retire owing significant amounts of money.
Supporting that finding, a recent Harris/Decima poll found managing debt was a top concern for many Canadians this year.
"You should take a close look at your debt levels, and really work to reduce or eliminate bad debt, which is debt that has a high interest rate, such as credit cards," advised Caskey. "If you are carrying significant debt, it's important to reduce it by as much as possible before you stop working."
The respondents were also asked to describe what they thought of when they were asked about retirement. Nearly half of Canadians equated retirement with more family time and a part of life in which one can more fully enjoy experiences. Just 15 per cent said they associated retirement with work.
However, the expectation of what retirement life is like may be much different from what it is in reality if the economy worsens, something that a considerable number of Canadians think may happen this year.
According to the results of a poll conducted jointly by the Economic Club of Canada and Pollara Strategic Insights, just 25 per cent of respondents said they were optimistic about the country's economy in 2012, down from 36 per cent when a similar survey was performed in 2010 and 54 per cent in 2009. In addition, 70 per cent said the economy is already in the midst of a recession.
Michael Marzolini, chairman of Pollara Strategic Insights, said Canadians haven't been this pessimistic in more than 15 years, save for a short period in 2008.
"Canadians not only believe we're now in a recession, but expectations for the length of the recession are actually longer than they were in any year since 2008," said Marzolini.
Despite the high level of negativity, most indicated Canada was one of the best countries to live in when taking into account how other countries are faring economically.