B.C. couples ahead of national average on agreeing about their retirement planning, Scotiabank study finds



    VANCOUVER, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - Couples in B.C. are second only to those in
Atlantic Canada when it comes to agreeing about their level of retirement
planning, according to the Couples Retirement Study conducted by TNS Canadian
Facts for Scotiabank. In the westernmost province, 55 per cent of couples are
in agreement about the extent of their retirement planning, compared to the
national average of 49 per cent and 59 per cent in Atlantic Canada.
    The extent to which they have planned may be the reason why B.C. couples,
at 76 per cent, are the most confident in the nation about their ability to
retire comfortably from a financial perspective. The national average is
72 per cent.
    However, couples in B.C. had one of the lowest levels of agreement on the
role of family and friends in their lives once they have retired, with only
53 per cent of couples having the same view. Prairie couples were most in sync
on what sort of social life they'll have in retirement, at 59 per cent, ahead
of the national average of 55 per cent.
    "It is crucial that couples have honest and in-depth discussions about
their life after retirement," said Kathy Kushner, Senior Financial Planning
Consultant, ScotiaMcLeod. "While an in-depth financial plan is vital to a
successful retirement, a plan will not be complete until couples have a closer
personal vision and agree on their retirement lifestyle goals."
    The study looked at Canadian couples with at least one partner aged 50 or
over and still working and examined attitudes and planning for post retirement
as well as financial and lifestyle priorities. Examples of lifestyle
priorities include travel, spending time with family and friends, healthy
living and accommodations.
    Looking at Canada as a whole, less than one quarter of respondents claim
to have had a thorough discussion with their spouse/partner about all aspects
of retirement while 55 per cent have a "rough idea" of how each other feels.
23 per cent haven't discussed it at all, or haven't discussed it as much as
they should.
    "We have seen many retirement plans hit a road bump almost immediately
out of the gate because the shared vision that the couples thought they had
wasn't as shared as it could be," said Barry LaValley, Canadian retirement
life goal planning expert. "Part of the problem is that couples don't often
talk about the change in the relationship dynamic and how their day-to-day
life will change in retirement." Mr. LaValley has partnered exclusively with
Scotia Private Client Group and ScotiaMcLeod to help connect lifestyle
considerations with an advisor's financial planning expertise to ensure a
successful transition into retirement.
    The study found that Canadian couples are most out of touch with each
other in the areas of financial planning, financial concerns and their outlook
toward retirement. Almost 60 per cent disagree on the basic question of
whether or not they are even looking forward to retirement.
    "By the time Canadians reach their 50's the ground work for a solid
retirement plan should already be laid and these discussions should have
already taken place," said Ms. Kushner. "Leaving important matters such as
retirement planning on the back burner will lead to inevitable problems and a
lot of surprises when a couple begins the transition to retirement. Our
research shows this issue to be widespread."
    Couples also disagree when it comes to the role that family and friends
will play in their retirement, with only 55 per cent agreeing. Surprisingly,
in only eight per cent of couples are both people mainly interested in
spending time with their partner rather than with other family/friends or by
themselves.
    "Differences like these may seem small now but could cause friction once
the couple moves into retirement," said Ms. Kushner. "It is important for
couples to have these discussions now so they can both enjoy the future. We
can assist by providing a structured approach to help couples set their
priorities together."
    Couples do share the same level of concern in their ability to retire
comfortably from a financial perspective with 65 per cent saying that they are
very or fairly confident. A full 44 per cent of couples, however, still do not
have a formal financial plan.
    "While it is encouraging to see some areas of consensus among partners,
it is concerning to see how many Canadian couples still don't have a financial
plan for their retirement," said Ms. Kushner. "A plan is the first step to
ensuring that goals and dreams are achievable after you retire. At Scotiabank
we have the expertise, products and services to help our clients meet their
unique retirement goals. So once they have talked to each other, we invite
Canadians to talk to us."
    "It is important for couples to think individually about their own
retirement plans and visions," said Mr. LaValley. "Then they should meet in
the middle and find the common ground they have as well as talk about the
differences and whether there might be a compromise. Couples don't have to
share the vision, but they do have to respect each other's views."
    The Couples Retirement Study was conducted for Scotiabank using TNS
Canadian Facts' online panel. Respondents for the survey were couples that are
married or in a common-law relationship, with at least one partner aged 50 or
over and working full-time, and having household investable assets of at least
$50,000. A total of 489 couples participated in the online survey between
April 17th and April 29th, 2007. Final data are weighted to be geographically
representative of couples' families.

    Scotia Private Client Group and ScotiaMcLeod are part of the Scotiabank
Group. As part of a complete financial strategy, Scotia Private Client Group
provides customized solutions across all financial disciplines in Centres
across Canada including estate and trust services, private banking, and
investment management based on objective financial planning. ScotiaMcLeod is
one of Canada's leading full-service investment firms, with a team of over
1000 investment and financial specialists delivering complete financial
strategies for clients in branches across the country.
    Scotiabank is one of North America's premier financial institutions and
Canada's most international bank. With almost 60,000 employees, Scotiabank
Group and its affiliates serve approximately 12 million customers in some 50
countries around the world. Scotiabank offers a diverse range of products and
services including personal, commercial, corporate and investment banking.
With $408 billion in assets (as at July 31, 2007), Scotiabank trades on the
Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges (BNS). For more information please visit
www.scotiabank.com.

    See: Couples Retirement Study(*) conducted by TNS Canadian Facts for
    Scotiabank Backgrounder, September 26, 2007


    Couples Retirement Study(*) conducted by TNS Canadian Facts for
    Scotiabank Backgrounder, September 26, 2007

    A lack of communication leads to disagreement in the way that Canadian
couples with one partner aged 50 or over view their needs and priorities as
they plan for their retirement. 22 per cent of respondents have thoroughly
discussed all aspects, 55 per cent have a "rough idea" of how each other
feels, and 23 per cent either haven't discussed it at all, or haven't
discussed it as much as they should.
    The study found that there are some key areas where Canadians couples
don't agree:

    
    -   Almost 60 per cent of couples disagree on their outlook towards
        retirement. This is the issue for which couples are least likely to
        see eye to eye.
        -  Of the 41 per cent of couples who share the same outlook on
           retirement, 15 per cent say they can't wait to retire, 21 per cent
           say that they have some concerns but overall are looking forward
           to it, while four per cent haven't given it much thought.

    -   More than half (54 per cent) of couples disagree on their main
        financial concern heading into retirement. This disconnect could lead
        to disagreements about what steps need to be taken to ensure a
        financially secure retirement.
        -  Of the 46 per cent of couples that share the same primary
           financial concern, nine per cent cite having an inadequate income
           stream as their main concern, while seven per cent cite having
           insufficient savings.

    -   51 per cent of partners disagree on the extent to which retirement
        planning has even taken place.
        -  Of the 49 per cent who agree on the extent to which they've
           planned for their retirement, only 25 per cent of couples agree
           that they have planned for most aspects of retirement, 11 per cent
           of couples agree that they have only planned for their financial
           needs in retirement and eight per cent share the same view that
           they have only planned for their lifestyle after retirement.

    -   45 per cent of couples have different views on the role that they
        would like family and friends to play in their retirement years.
        -  Of the 55 per cent who agree on the role of family and friends, in
           only eight per cent of couples are both members mainly interested
           in spending time with their partner, while 13 per cent think it is
           important to have a large circle of friends/family and 34 per cent
           look forward to spending time with a few close friends/family
           members.

    Despite the areas of disagreement, there are some key areas where
Canadians are talking, and where they seem to agree. For example:

    -   80 per cent of Canadian couples are in sync on whether they do or
        don't have a formal financial plan. Of those, a surprising
        44 per cent do not yet have a plan.

    -   72 per cent of Canadian couples share the same level of confidence in
        their ability to retire comfortably from a financial perspective.
        51 per cent of couples both agree that they are fairly confident
        while 14 per cent agree they are very confident.

    (*)The Couples Retirement Study was conducted for Scotiabank using TNS
    Canadian Facts' online panel. Respondents for the survey were couples
    that are married or in a common-law relationship, with at least one
    partner aged 50 or over and working full-time, and having household
    investable assets of at least $50,000. A total of 489 couples
    participated in the online survey between April 17th and April 29th,
    2007. Final data are weighted to be geographically representative of
    couples' families.
    





For further information:

For further information: Deborah Spence, Scotiabank Public Affairs,
(403) 254-6830


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