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Who Will Decide When You Will Retire? RBC Poll Finds Boomers May Be Surprised by the Answer

Four-in-ten boomers had less than six months notice before they retired

TORONTO, September 19, 2012 - Many (85 per cent) pre-retired Boomers with financial assets of $100,000 or more believe they will have the choice of when to retire, however, only 62 per cent of retired Boomers actually did have the choice, according to the third annual RBC Retirement Myths and Realities Poll.

"Most Canadians assume they will decide when to retire, but what if that isn't the case?" said Amalia Costa, head, Retirement Strategies, RBC. "There are enough uncertainties in life -- knowing what to expect in retirement doesn't have to be one of them."

The RBC poll found that Boomers don't always have much lead time in advance of their retirement date. In fact, one-in-five (20 per cent) retired Boomers knew one month or less before their actual retirement that they were going to retire and 42 per cent had less than six months notice before they retired.

"The surprising number of people facing unexpected retirement highlights the critical importance of starting lifestyle and financial planning early," said Roger Mannell, director of the RBC Retirement Research Centre at the University of Waterloo and a professor of recreation and leisure studies, public health, and gerontology. "As someone who not only studies successful aging, but who is retiring within a year, I've given much thought to my retirement. Many may be thinking of retirement as a vacation without yet having planned for the health, lifestyle, and financial considerations of the next 20 to 30 years of their retired life. Although important, vacations are only part of the mix - it's important to plan for key aspects of your day-to-day living."

The poll also found that for those retired Boomers who felt their retirement came at the right time, the majority (78 per cent) say they wanted to enjoy an active retirement while their health was good. Being healthy was cited as the main reason for the timing of their retirement, ahead of having enough money (34 per cent) or being unhappy at work (25 per cent).

"Good health remains a top priority in retirement planning and you need to consider how this impacts your finances," added Costa. "When we work with individuals who are preparing for their retirement, we consider both their lifestyle and financial situation, as a good financial plan needs to include both. While you can't always control the timing of your retirement, you can control how prepared you are by knowing what to expect."

About the RBC Myths & Realities Poll

The third Annual RBC Retirement Myths & Realities Poll, which examines Canadians' expectations and experiences in retirement, was conducted by Ipsos Reid from February 24 to March 12, 2012. For this survey, a national sample of 2,833 adults aged 50 and over with household assets of at least $100,000 from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±2 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error.

About the RBC Retirement Research Centre at the University of Waterloo

The RBC Retirement Research Centre at the University of Waterloo focuses on research related to areas that influence quality of life in retirement including health, leisure, wellness, lifestyle, finances, economics, science, arts and technology. The centre's resources are available by visiting The centre complements the distinctive RBC Your Future by Design® approach to help Canadians identify, plan, and realize their goals for retirement. With the guidance of RBC financial planners, Your Future by Design helps Canadians create a blueprint for a successful lifestyle and financial plan for retirement - one that's based on what is truly important to them in key areas in life, including family, health, home, lifestyle, work/business, mind and spirit, and legacy. To find out more about how RBC can help build a blueprint for the future, visit

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For more information, please contact:

Suzanne Willers, 416 974-2727,
Kate Yurincich, 416 974-1031,


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