More than 2,300 Canadians Redefine Retirement

TD has revealed themes from its popular Redefine Retirement contest. TD asked thousands of Canadians – some still green in their careers, others seasoned vets – what retirement meant to them. For respondents, retirement isn’t just the physical act of withdrawing from one’s chosen occupation. The word “retirement” is synonymous with freedom, financial security and the ability to travel and explore. At least, these are the top retirement themes that emerged among 2,300-plus Canadians who submitted definitions of the meaning of retirement. While many shared common elements, each entry was unique and personal. Other recurring themes from submitted definitions included financial security (27%), the ability to travel (25%), escape from the ‘nine-to-five grind’ (21%) and spending time with friends and family (14%).  

“What is clear from the submissions is that everyone’s idea of retirement is different, because everyone is looking forward to personal and specific things. It’s important to take the time to define what retirement means for you: it helps you get started on planning your finances to ensure your retirement dreams become a reality,” says Cynthia Caskey, Vice President, Portfolio Manager and Sales Manager, TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice. 

More than half (52%) of Canadians said retirement isn’t about stopping or slowing down. It’s about freedom and flexibility, and Notable readers share the sentiment.  Here are some examples of what our featured young professionals had to say:

“I would love to travel the entire world spreading knowledge and awareness about healthy aging. I look forward to be able to switch up routines, have new experiences and spend time with family.” – Caitlin Johnston

“My ideal retirement will allow me to travel whenever and wherever I choose, all the while still having my hands in some business ventures. Hopefully there will loads of grandchildren to play with as well! As for my ideal retirement age, I can foresee my retirement as a slow transition out of a daily routine, but never really stopping to work all together.” – Simon Hermant

“Crowe Soberman has mandatory retirement for partners to retire at 65. This allows us to grow people within the firm and prepare them for partnership opportunities that will arise. When I do retire, I plan to see more of the world, and to serve on the boards of not-for-profit organizations. I am planning for my retirement, but I’m not looking forward to it yet! There is so much I want to experience in the next 30+ years.” – Chandor Gauthier

“In my mind, retirement has nothing to do with time or money. Rather, my ideal retirement will begin when I have full control over how I use my energy on any given day, be it consulting in an area of expertise, travelling the world, playing lots of golf, catching up on unread books, or spending endless time with family and friends. When I’m retired, it will be fun to travel back to the places that I visited in my youth, to see how much they have changed while likely remaining mostly the same. And I suppose it’ll be interesting to reflect on myself in a similar way, while visiting each of those places once again”. – Nick Kuzyk 

“I hope my children and family will run my company one day so I can never really retire.” – Jennifer Ferreira


It seems we all have great ideas and expectations of retirement, but, as Wayne Gretzky reminded us in his recent visit to the TD Tower, financial planning and fiscal responsibility is key to a lucrative retirement. Financial institutions like TD can help.

“To ensure your finances are in good shape when you reach your golden years, it’s important to have a financial plan in place,” says Caskey. “With the recent volatility in the markets, you can help protect your portfolio by having a variety of investments and savings products. To help maximize your retirement savings, consider having a balance of conservative and growth investments, based on your comfort level and the number of years you have until retirement.”

Certain retirement hopes, like spending more time with friends and family and the ability to sleep in, may be executed on a small budget, but one-quarter of Canadians (and most of our young professionals) submitted definitions based on hopes to travel.

“Travel can be expensive and requires planning,” advises Caskey. “Start by reviewing your current financial situation. With the help of an advisor, you can create a formal financial plan to ensure you save enough now to pay for all of your expenses in retirement, including travel, when you likely won’t generate as much income.” 

Caskey admits that, upon reviewing the submitted definitions, that there was no “best definition” of retirement and that it is highly personal. She does stress, however, that retirement planning should start soon for us young professionals, saying “the earlier you start thinking about your retirement dream, the sooner you can start saving and planning to help ensure it comes true.”

Looks like we should get on it if our dreams of villas in France are to materialize! But, on the other hand, perhaps our villa is right here, doing what we love for work in our own incredible country…