The Bank of Montreal report found that 41 per cent of those surveyed — aged 18 to 34 — expect to stop working before they hit 60 years old.
About 57 per cent plan on retiring by the time they're 69.
Tina Di Vito, head of the bank's Retirement Institute says these expectations are unrealistic considering 27 per cent of respondents have not tucked away any money for retirement.
Among those who had begun saving, 52 per cent had put their money into a Registered Retirement Savings Plan, while 36 per cent used a Tax-Free Savings Account.
The study did not look at how much money was saved in those accounts.
"What we've noticed is that (young adults) are not doing a lot of things that are absolutely necessary for them ... to start preparing for their retirement years," Di Vito said.
Young people might not realize that the earlier they begin investing for the future, the less they'll need to save once they're nearing retirement, she added.
Others may not see retirement planning as a priority.
"There is a view that retirement is far off in the distance and there are more pressing other matters they have to deal with (like) finishing school, paying off student debt, buying a home, dealing with a mortgage and perhaps a young family," she said.
"There are many other priorities for a young adult where they really focus on, rather than focusing on things that are going to be 20 years down the road."
But the reality is members of Generation Y should be more worried about their retirement futures than their parents in the Baby Boomer generation, said Di Vito.
In the past, retirees only needed enough money to live for a few years after they stopped working. Now, as people continue to live into their 80, 90s and beyond, the young generation need to make sure they have enough money for these extra years, she said.
Employers who offer defined-contribution pension plans —which guarantee a certain level of retirement pay out — are also more rare nowadays, forcing people to rely more on their individual investments in retirement.
The vast majority of young people surveyed agreed that retirement planning was relevant (75 per cent) and important (82 per cent).
Still, only 23 per cent have spoken with a financial planner about their futures.
The "Broadening the Approach to Preparing for Retirement" report used data from a survey of a representative sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18 and older.
It was conducted online by Leger Marketing between February 8 to February 16.
The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.