'Til Debt Do Us Part

February 13, 2013 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Most Canadian couples do not share their views on retirement before saying “I do”, a study found.

BMO Financial Group’s third annual Valentine’s Day RRSP Study found less than one in three Canadians (28%) say they had a detailed conversation with their partner about how they envision their retirement before getting married or living common law. On average, Canadian couples believe that they will need approximately $1 million to fund their retirement.

Skipping these types of discussions may prove problematic as these couples near retirement, however, as the study found more than 20% of couples feel that having very different views about retirement could be grounds for breaking up or divorce.

“While discussing plans for retirement may not be one of the most romantic things to do during the courtship phase of a relationship, it’s important that couples share their thoughts with each other before getting too serious,” said Chris Buttigieg, senior manager, Wealth Planning Strategy, BMO Financial Group. “You could be spending 30 years with your partner in retirement, so it’s important that you determine early on if you’re on the same page.”

Eighty-six percent of those married or in a serious relationship have had conversations about retirement. However, fewer than half of those couples have spoken about:

  • How much they have saved for retirement;
  • What their ideal retirement lifestyle looks like;
  • Where to live during retirement; or
  • Whether to sell the family home/downsize.

The online survey was conducted by Pollara between February 1 and February 5, 2013, with a sample of 800 yet-to-retire Canadian adults who are married or in a common-law relationship.


Sara Kelly