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When the dots don’t connect: Canadians living longer in retirement but preparing less – RBC poll

  • Boomers not actively planning for 30 years in retirement
  • Now’s the time to get the conversation started


Video: 30 Year Retirement?
Video: 30 Year Retirement?
One in a series of “Retirement: Real Talk” videos posted on RBC’s comprehensive new Retirement Hub

TORONTO, February 14, 2017 - Canadian Boomers aged 55+ are now facing a new reality – a retirement that could last for 30 years. Yet, while three of their top retirement concerns are longevity-related – maintaining their standard of living (39 per cent), having enough savings (37 per cent) and covering healthcare costs (34 per cent) – only one third (33 per cent) indicate they’ll adjust their retirement lifestyle plans to prepare for three decades after they retire.

“Thirty years in retirement should be a huge gift of time, when you can do what you want, when you want – but you need to connect the dots between living longer in retirement and preparing for those additional years,” advised Yasmin Musani, director – Retirement Client Strategies, RBC. “If you’re in your 50s and haven’t considered all of your retirement options – and yes, making adjustments – it’s not too late to plan how to get the most out of all of your retirement years.”

RBC Financial Independence in Retirement Poll

RBC Financial Independence in Retirement Poll

View poll


The RBC Financial Independence in Retirement Poll also found that almost half (46 per cent) of Canadians aged 55+ felt they were financially “somewhat short/nowhere close” to where they anticipated they would be at this point, in terms of their retirement savings. Their #1 question: “Will I have enough money in retirement?” That’s also the most common question Bill Hill is asked, as he travels across the country speaking to groups of Canadians nearing retirement, in his role as national retirement planning consultant for RBC.

Hill says his response to this question is always the same: “Tell me what you want to do when you retire and then we can look at how much money that will take.” He stresses to everyone that they need to talk through their thoughts about the retirement lifestyle they would like to lead, before they focus on the finances – and “there’s no ‘one size fits all’.”

According to Hill, Canadians can start their retirement conversation by asking themselves a few questions:

  • Where will you want to live?
  • Do you have any travel plans in mind?
  • Will you be providing any assistance to younger or aging family members?
  • Have you discussed your plans with people close to you and with a financial advisor?

“You’ll likely find your priorities – and their related financial implications – shifting as you approach and then enter retirement,” Hill added. “That’s why it’s so important to have a conversation about your retirement thoughts with the key people in your life and then to sit down with a financial planner, to ensure you’re taking all your options into consideration. Retirement plans need to be fluid, to adjust as you approach retirement – and flexible enough to support the lifestyle you lead once you are retired.”

To further prompt Canadians to begin their retirement conversations, RBC has created a website with a comprehensive set of resources, featuring retirees in “People Like Me” videos and advice articles in “Big Questions. Big Answers.” The site also has a series of “Retirement: Real Talk” videos, where Canadians give some surprising answers when asked about their retirement dreams and concerns. All resources are a click away, at

Selected findings – RBC 2017 Financial Independence in Retirement Poll

Top 6 retirement questions on the minds of Canadians 55+

  • 46%: Will I have enough money in retirement
  • 26%: How do I make the most of the money I have saved
  • 20%: How will I deal with inflation in retirement
  • 19%: What lifestyle changes should I expect in retirement
  • 15%: How will I manage debt in retirement/How will I earn income while I’m retired
  • 13%: Should I downsize/sell my home

Top 6 activities retired Canadians are doing in retirement

  • 62%: Taking time for myself
  • 45%: Spending more time with my spouse/partner
  • 43%: Getting more rest
  • 42%: Travelling
  • 38%: Improving my health
  • 32%: Spending more time with my family (other than my spouse/partner)

About the RBC 2017 Financial Independence in Retirement Poll
These are some of the findings of the 27th Annual RBC RRSP Poll conducted by Ipsos from November 25 to 30, 2016 on behalf of RBC Financial Planning, through a national survey of 2,033 Canadians ages 18+ who completed their surveys online. Quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.4 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. 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, resources and interactive tools
The RBC Retirement Planning website can help you plan for 30 years or more in retirement. In addition, RBC Financial Planning and offer free planning, budgeting and savings advice and resources. 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, RBC Discover & Learn offers free online advice, resources and tools, including the RSP-Matic Savings Calculator.

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For more information, please contact:
Kathy Bevan, RBC Communications, 416-974-8820