What If You Won the Lottery?

April 28, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Workers sometimes cite "winning the lottery" as a retirement planning "strategy," but a new study suggests it wouldn't send most to an early retirement.

In fact, an RBC study of employed Canadians says the winners are just as likely to keep working as they are to retire permanently.

The RBC Survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid and titled The Competition for Canadian Talent, found that when employed Canadians were asked what they would do if they were to win $5 million in a lottery tomorrow, only one-third (35%) would quit their job and retire permanently, and nearly a quarter said they would stay at their current job.

According to the RBC Survey, if Canadian workers were to win $5 million in a lottery tomorrow, they would:

35% – quit their job and retire permanently

17% – start their own company

13% – start a new career in a completely different field or profession

11% – take a leave of absence but return to their current job

11% – stay at their current job

8% – go back to school

3% – start a charitable foundation

“As one of Canada’s largest employers, I am certain RBC’s own employees account for the sale of more than a few lottery tickets,” noted Christianne Paris, RBC’s vice-president, Recruitment and Learning. “As their chances of winning are as good as anyone else’s, it’s comforting to know that aspirations of winning the big one may not entirely be about permanent retirement.”

Most Likely To

Those who were most likely to quit their jobs permanently and retire if they win $5 million in a lottery tomorrow are most likely to be between 45 and 65 years of age (55%), and female (38% versus 32% of men). They were also more likely to currently be working part-time (40%) and unionized (40% versus 33% of non-unionized employees).

Workers more likely to say they would start their own company are more likely to be: younger (aged 18-30, 27$); male (20%, compared with 15% female); earning in excess of $80,000 per year (23%), and employed in the private sector (20% versus 15% of public sector employees).

The online poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid between November 5 and November 15, 2007. It was based on a randomly selected representative sample of 2052 Canadian full and part-time workers.