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)
For a chart of all topics, hosted by RBC, click HERE.
“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.”
Having these conversations is so important to attaining success in a late-in-life move, for all members of the family. One of the reasons people find it hard to talk to each other is that many decisions have a strong emotional side. A true and lasting solution need to address both the practical and the emotional needs.
Why is this important? As the Greatest Generation passes its wealth to the Boomers, and Boomers begin to pass wealth on, millions of older adults need help making decisions about their finances, how and where they want to live and die, the kind of caregiving they prefer, and the legacy they want to leave. At the same time, our population is aging and this trend will have a big impact on family life, business and society as it plays out over the next few decades. Increased longevity means many people will live for 20-30 years after they ‘retire,’ each decade bringing its own set of decisions and challenges. Having open and productive discussions with family and friends on what are often emotionally- laden topics is the best way to ensure success.
You are well-served to find a Master-ASA who has the skill set and the training to help you have these conversations.