Retirement, not as advertised

By The IJ Staff | January 16 2020 12:15PM

A new survey of retirees, conducted every other year by RBC Royal Bank, shows there are significant gaps between a pre-retiree’s expectations about retirement and the reality of the situation.

The RBC Retirement Myths and Realities poll, a survey of 2,000 Canadians over age 50, found that a few key assumptions some pre-retirees have about retirement don’t actually pan out in practice.

The report examines retirement dates and whether or not pre-retirees will actually know their retirement date in advance, at expectations about where retirees will spend their winters, and examines plans that many retirees have to return to work in retirement.

It found that more than half, 55 per cent of pre-retirees over age 50 say they expect to know their retirement date more than one year in advance. In reality, this was only true for 39 per cent of those over age 50 who are retired today. Of those who are retired today, 16 per cent said they had no advance notice about their retirement at all.

Snowbird dreams

Close to one third or 29 per cent say they expect to spend their winters south, in warmer climates. In practice, only 18 per cent actually end up heading south in the winter. Alberta retirees were most likely to actually head south, while those in Atlantic Canada were least likely to spend time in retirement as snowbirds.

Finally, half of those surveyed who are not yet retired, 50 per cent say they plan to work in retirement , to stay active, to stave off boredom and to generate income. (43 per cent said they would return to work for the money.) In reality, only 11 per cent of retirees said they had actually returned to full or part-time work.

“We know that the majority of Canadians do not have a retirement plan,” says RBC’s vice president of retirement strategy, Rick Lowes. “A plan helps you understand all your options so you don’t have to make major trade-offs to enjoy the retirement lifestyle you desire.”

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