When Can I Retire?

Thinking about retirement raises lots of questions. What will I do? How much money will I need? But the most important might be “When can I retire?”

It’s important to think about how long you’ll spend in retirement. It’s not just about when you can retire – the question can become “When should I retire?” Nowadays, we’re living longer, which means that Canadians’ retirement can last 20 to 30 years, or more. If you retired today, would you be prepared to replace your employment income for that long?

According to the Franklin Templeton 2018 Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey, over half of pre-retiree Canadians have concerns about outliving their assets or having to make major sacrifices in their retirement. 61% of those still working experience stress and anxiety when thinking about their retirement savings and investments. The good news? Respondents who have worked with an advisor are less concerned about outliving their assets or making major sacrifices to their strategy.


It’s important to save early, save often and save consistently. That may sound obvious, but almost half (45%) of pre-retirees without an advisor have nothing saved for retirement. In contrast, almost 90% of those working with an advisor are saving for retirement. So while it is relatively easy today to invest on your own, RISE data suggests that getting professional advice can help you develop the retirement savings habit.

In addition to government pensions, there are various savings and investment vehicles you can use to develop sources of retirement income. Each has unique characteristics. It is important to consider them within the context of a personal financial plan that accounts for your estimated retirement expenses, taxation, and personal priorities.

How are Canadians Saving for Retirement?

Currently part of retirement savings plan, by age group18-3435-5454+
Workplace pension plan 22% 24% 37%
Traditional RRSP I fund directly 22% 32% 27%
Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) 21% 17% 12%
Government Pension (e.g. CPP, OAS, QPP) 17% 26% 48%
Chequing and/or Savings Account 19% 12% 7%


An essential part of deciding ‘when can I retire’ is estimating the income you will need. According to our RISE survey, 85% of those still working have concerns about the expenses in retirement. And 53% of pre-retirees are worried about outliving their assets or having to make major sacrifices to their retirement strategy. Health issues and running out of money are anticipated to be the top two expense concerns in retirement.

It’s important to develop estimates of your potential expenses in retirement, and update that data regularly over time. This information can then be used to create your plan for generating income to pay those costs. Use the worksheets below to start planning for how much income you may need in retirement.

Watch: Income for What’s Next


Retirement Concerns, Expectations and Realities Shift with Age

Top Concerns by Age18-5455+
Health issues 25% 38%
Running out of money 37% 20%
Not having the lifestyle you planned 12% 7%

Retirement Realities

Canadians are most looking forward to travelling and having more free time in retirement. However, 20% of respondents are still unsure of their retirement plans.

However RISE reveals that, inevitably, there are gaps between pre-retiree expectations and retirement reality.


of pre-retirees said if they weren't able to retire due to sufficient income, they would increase their sources of income.


of retirees have actually increased their sources of income due to insufficient income for retirement.


of pre-retirees expect their top concern during retirement to be health issues.


of retirees say health issues are their top concern.


of pre-retirees said they would postpone retirement if unable to retire due to insufficient income.


of retirees postponed retirement due to insufficient income.


of pre-retirees expect their expenses to decrease in retirement.


of retirees say that their expenses have either stayed the same or increased in retirement.


Working with an Advisor: Retirement Savings, by Age Group

Age< $50,000$50,001-100,000$100,001-250,000$250,001-500,000$500,000+
45-54 19% 14% 19% 20% 28%
35-44 42% 25% 13% 13% 7%
25-34 58% 18% 11% 7% 6%

Not Working With an Advisor: Retirement Savings, by Age Group

Age< $50,000$50,001-100,000$100,001-250,000$250,001-500,000$500,000+
45-54 65% 11% 11% 5% 9%
35-44 72% 10% 7% 8% 4%
25-34 82% 10% 4% 2% 2%

Watch: The Value of An Advisor