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Silent Partners: Majority of Canadian boomers have not discussed retirement with their spouses or partners, RBC poll finds

Genders have vastly different ideas about how to spend their post-career years

TORONTO, July 16, 2014 -  More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of not-yet-retired Canadians aged 50 and older have yet to discuss their hopes for their post-career lives with their spouses or partners, according to the latest findings of the annual RBC Retirement Myths & Realities Poll.

Three of the topics these Canadians have been most reluctant to discuss with their significant others:

  • How either will manage if the other encounters health issues (86 per cent)
  • How either will manage if the other passes away prematurely (81 per cent)
  • What activities they will do in retirement (65 per cent)

“Couples often have more conversations about what they’ll be doing over the summer or winter holidays than what they hope their retirement together will be like,” noted Bill Hill, national retirement planning consultant, RBC. “Yet one of the most important discussions you can have as a couple in your 50’s or older is around the future lifestyle you’re hoping for when you’re no longer working 9 to 5. You want to do everything you can now, to ensure your retirement years will be equally enjoyable for both of you.”

The RBC poll found only 36 per cent had discussed how they will finance their retirement and where they will live once retired. At the same time, the poll also revealed that men and women have very different expectations about how they will occupy their time during retirement.

While 57 per cent of men expected to spend more time with their spouse or partner, only 52 per cent of women expressed the same sentiment. Women were much more interested in spending more time with family other than their spouses or partners (53 per cent compared to 37 per cent of men), with friends (51 per cent versus 36 per cent) and as volunteers (63 per cent versus 50 per cent).

“The differences men and women are expressing separately make it all the more important for them to discuss retirement together,” added Hill. “We’ve seen with our own clients how sitting down as a couple with a financial planner can really open up these conversations. Talking through the possibilities makes it easier to create a retirement that works for both partners.”

About the Fifth Annual RBC 2014 Retirement Myths & Realities Poll
This annual poll examines Canadians’ expectations and experiences in retirement. It was conducted via online interviews by Ipsos Reid from March 3 to 18, 2014, using a national sample of 3,871 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 ±1 percentage point 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 RBC’s financial planning advice and resources
Your Future by Design is RBC’s distinctive approach to help Canadians identify, plan, and realize their goals for retirement. With the guidance of RBC Financial Planning, Your Future by Design helps Canadians create a blueprint for a successful lifestyle and financial plan for retirement 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 or call our toll-free number at 1-866-783-6024. Our online resource centre Seniors Finance and Caregiving includes comprehensive caregiving and Power of Attorney information for Canadians to help them plan for a successful retirement. In addition, 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 can help answer their questions. Further information is available at

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Media Contacts:
Kathy Bevan, RBC Communications, 416-974-8820
Lena Wan, RBC Communications, 416-955-6665