Many Canadians aged 45 to 54, the first age group to be affected by the OAS age increase proposed by the government, were already planning on working past age 65, according to CIBC polls conducted by Harris/Decima this past September.

The findings suggest the proposed changes won’t cause most Canadians to rewrite their retirement strategies, but that they may need to revisit their savings and debt management, with some already expecting to carry debt into retirement.

Consumer polling conducted in late 2011 provided a number of insights about Canadians in the 45-54 age group, including the fact that the average target retirement age for these Canadians is 63, with more than two-thirds planning to stay engaged in the workforce after they retire by taking on part time work (43%) or by doing occasional consulting (22%) to supplement income.

Looking ahead to their sources of income in retirement, 30% already planned to rely primarily on their own savings, while 25% believed government payments would be a key source of income. An additional 25% named private pensions as their primary source of income.

A quarter (26%) of this group expected to carry debt into retirement, with 17% of Canadians between 45 and 54 saying they would still have a mortgage payment to consider.

“Most Canadians aged 45 to 54 are not likely to require major alterations to their retirement plan based on the recently announced changes to OAS,” said Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning, CIBC. “However, for those who expect to carry debt into retirement, it is another reason to revisit their savings and debt management plans in these critical years before retirement.”