Yasmin Musani

Three Top Retirement Realities

October 15, 2015

By Sheryl Smolkin

If you are just starting to consider retirement you may be more focused on planning for the financial implications of leaving the world of work. But if you think you will get to pick the ideal day to walk off into the sunset without any regrets, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

According to the 2015 RBC Retirement Myths & Realities Poll, already-retired Boomers (aged 50+) identified three retirement realities that contradict the expectations of their counterparts who have not yet retired:

It’s not all about money: Retirees don’t miss their pay cheques from work as much as pre-retirees expect to, by a margin of almost two-to-one (26% compared to 49%).  What retirees do miss most is their social time with colleagues at work (51%).

Time is of the essence: While simply taking time for myself is how the majority of retirees (72%) report they are actually spending their time, travel tops the “expect to do in retirement” list for a similar majority of pre-retirees.

Choosing the date: Close to half (43%) of retirees didn’t get to choose their retirement date, in contrast to the 80% of pre-retirees who expect to have that choice. Retirees cited several reasons why they left their working lives behind before they were ready to do so, including health, the need to provide care to someone else and their employer’s request.

Through its annual poll and a separate research study, RBC also explored retirement income expectations of three specific groups of Canadians who are not yet retired: single women (not married, separated/divorced or widowed), business owners and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

As pre-retirees, single women and business owners were equally concerned (41% each) that they would not have enough money to live well and do what they want when they retire. In a separate RBC-sponsored LGBT retirement study, conducted by the University of Waterloo’s RBC Retirement Research Centre, 30% of LGBT pre-retirees shared similar worries, stating they expected their funds would be inadequate or barely enough to achieve the retirement they have in mind.

“Each of these realities has retirement planning implications for Canadians, including how they will affect the lifestyle they hope to achieve when they are no longer working,” noted Yasmin Musani, head of Retirement and Successful Aging Strategies, RBC. “They raise important questions for Boomers to consider about their life goals and priorities as they approach retirement. For example, ‘What social network will you have in retirement?’ and ‘How will you spend your time?'”

More detailed survey results comparing national and Manitoba/Saskatchewan responses are presented in the tables below.

(Canadians aged 50+)
Socializing/interacting with colleagues
Retired 51% 50%
Not retired 53% 51%
Not a thing
Retired 30% 29%
Not retired 15% 13%
A regular pay cheque
Retired 26% 23%
Not retired 49% 49%
Being mentally busy
Retired 20% 14%
Not retired 38% 30%
Getting out of the house
Retired 14% 15%
Not retired 30% 21%
Health benefits
Retired 12% 11%
Not retired 29% 30%
Being physically busy
Retired 12% 11%
Not retired 20% 16%
Having goals to work towards
Retired 9% 8%
Not retired 18% 17%
(Canadians aged 50+)
Taking time for myself
Retired 72% 73%
Not retired 64% 61%
Retired 62% 64%
Not retired 70% 86%
(Canadians aged 50+)
Retired 43% 38%
Not retired 31% 34%
Health reasons
Retired 14% 11%
Not retired 11% 13%
Employer’s request
Retired 13% 9%
Not retired 5% 2%
Reached mandatory retirement age
Retired 5% 9%
Not retired 11% 11%
Required as caregiver for someone
Retired 5% 6%
Not retired 1% 3%
Retired 10% 11%
Not retired 6% 9%
SOURCE: 2015 RBC Retirement Myths & Realities Poll Selected National, Regional Findings

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