Those in retirement in Canada are happier than those across the border in the US, survey shows

by Ray Clancy on February 15, 2010

While Canada is currently in the world spotlight while hosting the Winter Olympic Games, a new survey shows that those who retire in the country are happier with their life than those in neighboring US.

The reality of retirement in Canada is a lot closer to what people had imagined than it is in the US with nearly 70% of retirees saying that their post working life is exactly, or mostly, what they thought it would be, the survey by TD Bank Financial Group shows. In the US it is just under 50%.

The impact of the recession in the US may have created the difference, according to Frank McKenna, deputy chairman at TD and former Canadian ambassador to the United States.

‘The US has been going through a much greater period of anxiety than in Canada, between the  overall depth of the recession, the level of unemployment, and particularly the stress on the housing market. Canada has experienced all of those impacts, but to a much lesser extent,’ he explained.

The survey found that one in four American retirees were worried they might run out of money, double the response in Canada. Of American respondents, 28% said they may have to find another job to supplement their retirement income, compared with 10% of Canadians.

Also 38% of Americans thought they definitely did not save enough money for retirement compared with 21% of Canadians and 21% of Americans were worried they did not start saving early enough, compared with 10% of Canadians.

Respondents on both sides of the border, some 32% in America and 28% in Canada, said one of their biggest mistakes in planning for retirement was that they didn’t start saving until they were over 40 years old.

The survey also found that Canadians are more focused on their financial health, while Americans are more concerned about taking care of their physical health. ‘Canada does have a public health care system and a lot of automatic social stabilizers that come out during times of stress, so people tend to be less worried about those programmes because they know they’ll be there,’ McKenna said.

‘But at the same time that Canada was experiencing that stability, the US was going through a rancorous, and volatile, and to some, even threatening debate about the future of health care, so it wouldn’t be unnatural that some of the anxieties spread into health care at the retiree level,’ he added.

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