The higher an individual’s education the more likely that person is to continue working throughout his or her golden years, according to Peter Drake, vice president, retirement and economic research, Fidelity Investment Canada. But that doesn’t mean a regular salary should be the focal point of their retirement plans.

Drake spoke at the Canadian Institute of Financial Planners (CIFPs) annual conference in Halifax on Tuesday.

Citing data from Statistic Canada, Drake said that as of April 2014, almost 30% of Canadians aged 65 years or older with graduate degrees were still working. That compares to the almost 22% of seniors who hold a bachelor degree who remain in the workforce, followed by the roughly 20% of older workers with some post-secondary education and the approximately 15% of individuals with high school education.

“The less education they have – and the more likely that they’re doing physically demanding jobs – the less opportunity they will have to work in retirement,” said Drake.

As such, Drake believes advisors should segment their clients based on education and speak to those individuals with less schooling about the reality of how long they are going to work past the age of 65.

However, although there is more opportunity for people with higher education for employment during their traditional retirement years, Drake emphasized that no client, regardless of how long he or she went to school, should make full-time or part-time work the centrepiece of his or her retirement income.

“Planning to work in retirement is not a retirement plan,” said Drake. “What we see year after year from our annual retirement survey … of the people who are retired in Canada, half or more retired before they planned to.”

According to the 2014 Fidelity Retirement Survey Report, 76% of retirees in British Columbia stopped working before the age of 65, while for Ontario that number reached 80%. The three top reasons people retire earlier than they intended are poor health, job loss or a change in priorities.

“The person’s attitude toward the job changes,” said Drake. “A lot of times it involves stress in the workplace. Other times it’s just simply, ‘Hey look, I’ve been working for the company for 35 years and frankly I’m fed up with it. I just really have to get out.'”