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Most Canadian Couples Lag in Retirement Discussions

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More than half of Canadian couples have not discussed their desired retirement lifestyle, when or where to retire or the amount of money they’ll need, according to a new report.

BMO Financial Group, Toronto, Ont., released this finding in its Second Annual Valentine’s Day Retirement Study which focuses on communication between couples on retirement planning. The online survey of 926 Canadian adults, completed this month, was conducted by Leger Marketing.

According to the survey, 69% of Canadian couples state they have had a discussion with their partner about retirement plans. However, fewer than half have discussed the essentials, including:

  • What their ideal retirement lifestyle will look like (47%)
  • At what age they want to retire (46%)
  • Where they want to live (44%)
  • How much money they will need to support their ideal retirement lifestyle (42%)
  • Whether they will be selling their house or staying in the family home (36%)

Almost one-third (30%) of Canadian couples say they do not know how much their partner has saved for retirement, including how much they have in their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), the Canadian equivalent of an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan in the U.S.

The survey also found that fewer than one-third (27%) of Canadian couples take advantage of spousal RRSPs, with one-quarter (26%) not even knowing what they are.

Overall, the survey says, respondents consider retirement (56%) to be more stressful than Valentine’s Day (20%). More men indicated that issues relating to Valentine’s Day cause them more stress (30%) versus women (10%). But more women selected retirement-related issues (61%) compared to men (51%).