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Are You A “Silent” Retirement Partner?

Are You A “Silent” Retirement Partner?

By Susan Williams

Would you be surprised to find out that more than two thirds of non-retired Baby Boomers have not discussed what their hopes are when they eventually stop working with their significant others?

According to the findings of the RBC Retirement Myths & Realities Poll , they found that the three topics these individuals were most reluctant to discuss with their partners were:

  • How either will manage if the other encounters health issues (86%)
  • How either will manage if the other passes away prematurely (81%)
  • What activities they will do in retirement (65%)

One of the comments that was made by a national retirement planning consultant at RBC was

“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.”

Given that retirement is such a significant life changing event, you would think that couples would be talking and planning what their plans were together.

But they are not.

Here are some of the possible reasons why some of these conversations may not be happening:

Not actually thinking about retirement yet

Time can go by so fast and possibly for many people, thinking about planning for what they will do in retirement may not even be on their minds yet – they are just too busy living for today.

Not planning to retire anytime soon

In a recent report by SunLife Financial, they found that 32% of Canadians still plan to be working at age 66 and 27% plan to be working part time. This is quite a shift from 2009 when 55% were expecting to be retired at this age. If you are not planning on retiring, then chances are you’re probably not talking about it. (This actually might be a good thing given the evidence of how working can actually be good for you.)

Fear of not sharing the same retirement dream

 One person wants to live abroad for six months of the year, the other one wants to stay home and look after the grandkids. One partner wants to golf and the other person would like to travel the world. One spouse wants to live in a small town, the other one wants to live downtown.

After working all your life towards a dream that you may have (and possibly have not shared) it could be devastating to find out that the person you share your life with doesn’t have the same aspirations as you do for retirement. Sometimes it might seem easier to just ignore it or not discuss it rather than risk finding out.

Not financially ready for retirement

There seems to be some conflicting information on financial preparedness for retirement.

A report from McKinsey stated that 4 out of 5 Canadians are financially on track for retirement and using a formula for retirement readiness assessment found that 83% should be able to live a comfortable retirement.

However another report conducted on behalf of Global News by Ipsos Reid found that 50% of the people polled are not confident they’ll have enough money saved to retire comfortably.

At any rate, if someone is experiencing financial challenges – and especially if it comes to saving for retirement – sometimes avoidance and not talking about it may seem like the easier route to take.

Bottom line is that it seems like there is a large opportunity to talk about your hopes, dreams and plans for retirement with your partner.

Maybe by talking about it now, you can work together on building the plan to get there – whatever that may look like.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.