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August 4, 2008
Montreal, August 4th, 2008 – According to the 2008 AXA Retirement Scope, an international study carried out in 26 different countries, the perceptions and opinions expressed by Canadians and Chinese differ for most of the themes dealt with by the study. For instance, Canada is by far the country with the most voluntary early retirements (73%). Only 38% of Chinese voluntarily opt for an early retirement and 25% do it at the employer’s invitation. There is one similarity, however: Canadians and Chinese equally plan (58%) for a remunerated activity following retirement, but few Canadians (16%) or Chinese (15%) finally succeed in bringing about a project that is most often characteristic of higher income people.
Canada is one of the countries where the idea of retirement is the most positive. It is perceived by 73% of Canadian actives as a period of freedom and pleasure. 34% of Quebeckers associate it with images of rest, peace and tranquillity. Only 19% of Canadian actives associate it with negative images such as fear of aging or financial difficulties, and this seems more frequent with lower income people. In comparison, retirement brings up positive images in only 55% of Chinese actives. It should be noted that the study’s international average for this category of person is 65%.
A large majority of Canadian actives (61%) hope that retirement will allow them to travel. Chinese actives express less enthusiasm on this topic: only 31% think about travelling. This only seems possible to higher income retirees. 33% of Canadian retirees do travel, compared to only 9% of Chinese retirees.
Canada is one of the countries where retirees are most satisfied with their lot, compared with that of the previous generation. On the other hand, they are rather worried about what will happen to the following generation: only 30% of Canadian retirees believe that life will be better for their children. China beats Canada with regard to optimism: 79% of Chinese retirees believe that their lot at retirement is better than that of their parents and 65% are convinced that it will be even better for their children.
Canada, a country where autonomy and individual responsibilities are highly valued, is one of the nations where it is the least expected that children should support their parents materially or financially. As an example, 72% of Chinese actives think that they are responsible for providing their retired parents with material or financial support while only 45% of Canadian actives agree. The great majority of Canadian retirees (90%) are much more concerned about whether their children will visit them regularly!
Canada is one of the countries where a good proportion of actives (60%) as well as retirees (66%) consider that their retirement income will be or is sufficient. The Chinese feel even more satisfied: 80% of actives look forward to a comfortable retirement and 66% of retirees consider their retirement income sufficient. The Chinese are also at the top of the list when assessing whether their quality of life will improve (53% say yes) or has improved (42% say yes) since retirement. These responses are not shared by as many Canadian actives (28%) or retirees (36%).
Yet, the Chinese save less than Canadians for retirement: The monthly amount saved by Canadian actives for retirement is $482 while it is only $159 for the Chinese actives. To finance their retirement, both actives and retirees, Canadians and Chinese, tend to prefer risk-free financial products, even though their return is lower.
In Canada, this role is considered by actives as that of the individual first (85%), the government (77%), and then the employer (75%). We should note the clear difference of Quebec retirees, 89% of whom believe that the employer should play the main role. We should not be surprised that, in comparison, only 59% of the Chinese recognize the individual’s role here. The Chinese assign more responsibility to the government (85%) and to the employer (71%).
Even though Chinese retirees feel satisfied with their income and generally satisfied with their lot, they are not among the happiest during this period of their life. Only 18% declare themselves “very happy” against 48% of Canadian retirees. What is the recipe for a happy retirement? The international study reveals that overall the happiest retirees feel that their health is better than that of the other retirees, they prepared their retirement earlier and have sufficient income to take advantage of it.
All 2008 AXA Retirement Scope Canadian results (with international comparison) can be found on the following website: www.axa.ca
The AXA Retirement Scope is an international survey whose objectives are to explore and understand the attitudes of the population towards retirement and compare its image to its reality.
The survey, whose sample is made up of more than 18,000 actives and retirees, was carried out in 26 countries in the fall of 2007, by a consortium of research firms led by the GFK Group and represented by CROP in Canada.
Analyzed countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Operating throughout Canada, AXA offers its clients, through its 2,200 employees and some 4,000 brokers and consultants, an extensive range of damage and personal insurance products and financial services. In 2007, its sales amounted to CAN$1.74 billion and its net earnings reached CAN$196.1 million. AXA Canada is a member of the AXA Group, a world leader in Financial Protection, whose activities take place mostly in Western Europe, North America and the Asia/Pacific region. Throughout the world, 67 million clients put their trust in AXA. For further information about AXA Canada, please visit www.axa.ca.
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