Most Canadians plan to work past the traditional retirement age of 65, a new survey has found.

According to Sun Life Financial’s annual Canadian Unretirement Index released Wednesday, people are living longer, taking on extra debt, paying more for healthcare and, as a result, worrying about having enough money after they retire.

“These results are not surprising given the current economic volatility, increasing consumer debt loads, rising healthcare costs, longer life expectancy and lack of planning,” said Sun Life Financial president Kevin Dougherty. “We’re also finding that some Canadians believe they’ll have to work longer to be able to pay for basic living expenses.”

The poll also found a growing number of Canadians — 48 per cent — planned to phase in retirement by working part-time or freelance, with most of those saying they had no choice.

Almost half of those asked said they are worried about debt in retirement, and many said paying down debt ranks much higher than saving for the future.

“Interest in phased retirement has been growing over the past few years,” said consultant Ian Markham.

“Baby boomers are looking at it as a way to prolong their careers, pay off some debts and make a smooth transition into retirement. Having additional income during this transition creates an additional financial safety net for Canadians — which we’re seeing as increasingly important in today’s economy.”

According to Statistics Canada, the average life expectancy for Canadians at age 65 is 20 more years, with women living longer than men.

Ipsos Reid interviewed 3,701 working Canadians aged 30-65 for the poll.