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September 29, 2008
Montréal, September 29, 2008 – According to the 2007-2008 AXA Retirement Scope, Canada is one of the countries where the greatest number of retirees have to make do with a reduced income at retirement (77% compared with an international average of 68%). However, for about half of Canadians, quality of life remains the same after retirement and even improves for 36% of them. This perception of improved quality of life is at least twice more frequent in retirees who had a high income during their active years. “It is probable that a reduction in certain expenditures related to working life and the possibility of using one’s time as one wishes explain such favourable perceptions of quality of life after retirement and compensate for the loss of income,” explains Robert Landry, Executive Vice President, Life Insurance and Financial Services, AXA Assurances.
The survey also provides interesting data regarding intentions – and reality – in preparing for retirement. Canada is one of the countries where awareness that retirement requires preparation is the strongest and where such preparation is made the earliest. A high majority of our actives (74%) declare that they have already started to prepare for retirement (54% for the international average). Our retirees say they started saving at about age 37, motivated by personal reasons, such as age or family responsibilities. “The new reality seems to be that today, people start preparing for retirement at the age of 30, very often prompted by the advice of professionals or enticed by tax benefits,” says Mr. Landry. “Life insurance is definitely part of the emerging means people use to plan for retirement.” It was the case for 53% of Canadians already retired, and those numbers are expected to increase. More than 67% of Canadian workers have chosen this mean to prepare their retirement, including 80% of Quebecers.
A majority of our retirees (66%) feel that their income is sufficient, which places the country at the third place in an international comparison, behind the United States and Switzerland. Currently, this income seems to be 20% higher than the household’s basic expenses. Considerable inequalities still remain for women who report a retirement income of $1,816 against $2,374 for the Canadian average.
Will the picture be as rosy for the next generations of retirees? People age 45 and over remain relatively optimistic: only 23% fear that their income will not be sufficient. This number climbs to 51% for people 35-44. However, it is difficult to know whether this concern is based on a precise assessment of future retirement income. “In 2007, only four workers out of ten could evaluate the income they would dispose of at retirement,” said Mr. Landry. Those able to project their retirement income are more often 45 and over and are mainly among the well-to-do.
The great majority of the Canadian population feel that the government pension plan has problems without however considering it is actually in a state of crisis. Taking a closer look, this confidence is not shared equally by all. 32% of Quebecers consider that the public plan has serious problems, but only 16% of Canadians do. In Quebec, the social role of the state is more valued, and Quebec is more severely affected by population aging. In the Canadian active population, people age 35 to 44 are also more likely to believe that the system has serious problems because they are anticipating that it will certainly be the case when they reach retirement age.
If you want to learn more about the aging and retirement phenomenon, please see the complete Canadian results of the 2007-2008 AXA Retirement Scope (with international comparison), as well as the data of previous editions of the Scope, by visiting our website: www.axa.ca
The AXA Retirement Scope is an international survey whose objectives are to explore and understand the attitudes of the population regarding retirement and contrast image and reality.
The survey, whose sample is made up of more than 18,000 actives and retirees, was carried out in 26 countries during 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, 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.
Colette Lemieux/Christiane Jacob
AXA is the world largest insurer in term of net premiums written, according to the rating agency AM Best
$1.4 billion in equity in Canada in Canada
$224.5 million in earnings in Canada
The AXA Group is present in 61 countries
$5.8 billion in assets in Canada
AXA is the 1st insurance company in Quebec for businesses in Québec
Over 2,500 employees in Canada
AXA has over 214,000 employees worldwide
4,000 brokers and advisors In Canada
2.15 billion direct premiums issued in Canada
Nearly 20,000 volunteers with the AXA Hearts in Action program worldwide
The AXA Group is the 1st insurance company among the world’s top 500 companies, according to Fortune 500-2010
AXA is the 1st insurance brand in the world, according to Interbrand