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When retirement isn’t by choice: RBC poll finds four-in-ten Canadians aren’t retiring on a date of their choosing

Retirement Income Planning all the more important to prepare for surprises

TORONTO, November 15, 2013 — Although a large majority (80 per cent) of Canadians approaching retirement believe they will get to pick the day they step away from their careers, in reality 41 per cent of retirees report that they did not leave on a date of their choice, according to the RBC 2013 Retirement Myths & Realities Poll (opens PDF in new window). Key reasons specified for their unanticipated departure were employer's request (41 per cent) and health reasons (22 per cent).

"As Canadians approach their retirement, planning ahead takes on added importance," noted Amalia Costa, head, Retirement Strategies & Successful Aging, RBC. "Your retirement date may not be something you can control, but you can shape your retirement income plan to take the unexpected into account, so you are better prepared financially, no matter how much time you may have before you retire."

The annual poll, which surveys Canadians aged 50 plus, also revealed that 20 per cent of retirees had as little as one month or no advance notice (opens PDF in new window) before retirement, with a majority (65 per cent) reporting they had notification one year or less before their retirement date.

"Chances are two out of three retiring Canadians will have less than a year to transition into their next stage of life and they are going to have to create a new paycheque to support that next stage," said Costa. "We advise our clients to begin refining their retirement 'roadmap' at least five years before they expect to retire, to get a clearer idea of their retirement lifestyle, as well as the corresponding retirement income plan that will help them achieve it."

This five-year review is a crucial reality check for anyone approaching retirement, added Costa. "It's important to work with a financial advisor who can help you prepare for retirement, no matter when your retirement date actually occurs."

Other key findings from the RBC 2013 Retirement Myths & Realities Poll:

Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of fully retired Canadians responded that, in hindsight (opens PDF in new window), they had retired "at the right time".

Among fully retired Canadians who felt they had retired at the right time, the following reasons (opens PDF in new window) were cited for feeling this way:

  • "I wanted to enjoy active retirement while my health is good" - 79 per cent
  • "I didn't need any more money/had enough money" - 37 per cent
  • "I wasn't happy at work" - 26 per cent
  • "I wanted to join retired spouse/partner" - 20 per cent
  • "Health concerns" - 14 per cent
  • "I wanted to volunteer" - 13 per cent
  • "I needed to take care of someone else" - eight per cent

The top strategies (opens PDF in new window) cited by Canadian retirees for supplementing their retirement income if necessary:

  • Move (downsize, rent, etc.) or stay in my home and live frugally - tied at 79 per cent
  • Stay in my home and sell assets - 44 per cent
  • Borrow against my home equity - 38 per cent
  • Return to paid work - 29 per cent
  • Stay in my home and rent a part of my home to create income - 16 per cent
  • Take out a loan without borrowing against my home equity - 10 per cent
  • Ask a family member for financial help - five per cent

About RBC's financial planning advice, resources and interactive tools
Canadians can access RBC Financial Planning (opens new window) and (opens new window) for free planning, budgeting and savings advice and resources, or to find the nearest Investment and Retirement Planner (opens new window). In addition, Seniors Finance and Caregiving (opens new window) is a new online resource centre which includes comprehensive caregiving information for Canadians to help them plan for a successful retirement. For Canadians who want to get more from their day-to-day banking, protect what's important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre (opens new window) can help answer their questions. Interactive tools and calculators such as the Debt Reduction Plan (opens new window) and Debt Consolidation Calculator (opens new window), provide customized information covering many facets of personal finance. All personal RBC online banking (opens new window) clients also can use myFinanceTracker (opens new window), a no-cost interactive financial management tool, to create a set budget, track their spending habits and access tax-related apps in myTax Centre (opens new window), to help manage and plan their taxes.

About the Fourth Annual RBC 2013 Retirement Myths & Realities Poll
This annual poll examines Canadians' expectations and experiences in retirement. It was conducted via online interviews by Ipsos Reid from February 27 to March 12, 2013, using a national sample of 2,159 adults aged 50 and over with household assets of at least $100,000 from Ipsos' Canadian online panel. 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.

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Media contacts:
Kathy Bevan, Communications, RBC, 416-974-8820

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