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Seven in 10 Canadians plan to keep on working after reaching retirement age, with 38 per cent saying they'll keep toiling because they can't afford not to.

But as the country's work force ages, that's not the only reason why people are staying on the job longer, according to a Bank of Nova Scotia poll released Tuesday. Of those who plan to continue working, 72 per cent say they want to remain mentally active, while 57 per cent want to stay socially connected.

Most Canadians plan to travel in their retirement, followed by spending more time with family and friends, reading and exercising. Other plans include taking up a hobby and going back to school.

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More than half, or 56 per cent of respondents, think they will need less than one million dollars to fund their retirement and of those, half believe they will need less than $300,000. More than a quarter of Canadians think they will need between $1-million and $2-million and 16 per cent believe they will need $2-million or more to fund their retirement.

While there is no "magic number" that people should be aiming for when saving for retirement, "it's important that Canadians are realistic about how they plan to spend their retirement and how much it will cost," said Gillian Riley, head of retail payments, deposits and lending at the bank.

Most people are socking away money for retirement. Three-quarters of respondents expecting to retire are currently putting money away for their future and have been doing so for an average of 15 years. Half of those report saving less than $20,000 over the past five years.

Most money for retirement will come from RRSP contributions and savings. Other sources of funding include money from government, work pensions and inheritance. Five per cent of Canadians expect to have retirement money come from the lottery and 4 per cent from their kids.

The poll was conducted by Harris/Decima in mid-October. It collected 1,011 completed surveys across Canada, of which 731 expect to retire.

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About the Author

Tavia Grant has worked at The Globe and Mail since early 2005, covering topics from employment and currency markets to trade, microfinance and Latin American economies. She previously worked for Bloomberg News in Toronto and Zurich, writing on mining, stocks, currencies and secret Swiss bank accounts. More

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