The average retirement age fell steadily from the late 1970s to the late 1990s. This is partly because of high unemployment rates, which made early retirement incentives attractive to both employers and employees. Since then, the trend has reversed direction, largely owing to longer lifespans and declining real interest rates that made retirement more expensive. A declining worker-to-retiree ratio was also a factor. The self-employed, however, have always retired late.
Frederick Vettese is former chief actuary of Morneau Shepell and author of Retirement Income for Life. If you have a retirement-related question you’d like to see answered, send us an email. We can’t promise to answer them all but we’ll have a look.