Leger Marketing says 57% of respondents aged 50 to 59 said they would rather work longer to live better in retirement, versus just 25% who said they would live more modestly in order to retire early.
Fifty-somethings in Manitoba and Saskatchewan were most likely to opt for working longer (67%), while those in Quebec were most likely to take early retirement (32%).
About one-quarter of those surveyed (24%) expect to carry some debt into their retirement. Of those, 80% indicated they have no plans to pay it off anytime soon, saying they would stay in debt throughout their retirement.
They may not have considered the drain on cash flow that will result from making monthly repayments on debt, says Christina Kramer of CIBC, which commissioned the poll.
"While some Canadians may feel they can incorporate monthly debt payments into their retirement, the reality is that repaying debt before retirement remains an integral component of maximizing cash flow," she said.
The survey was conducted July 5-8 in every province and features a representative sample of 805 pre-retired Canadians aged 50 to 59. A probabilistic sample of 805 respondents would yield a margin of error of 3.45 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.