Ontario couples lag behind the rest of the country on their agreement around financial planning, Scotiabank study finds



    TORONTO, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - Couples in Ontario and on the Prairies have a
lot in common when it comes to the extent to which they have planned for
retirement. According to the Couples Retirement Study conducted by TNS
Canadian Facts for Scotiabank, couples in both regions trail the rest of the
country, with 47 per cent of couples in agreement about the extent to which
they have planned, compared to the national average of 49 per cent. Couples in
Atlantic Canada lead the country with 59 per cent in agreement.
    When it comes to having a similar level of confidence in the ability to
retire comfortably from a financial perspective, couples in Ontario, at 71 per
cent, are close to the national average of 72 per cent
    Ontario couples are also more in sync regarding the role family and
friends will play in their retirement with 58 per cent agreeing. This is also
on par with couples in the Prairies and is above the national average of 55
per cent.
    "It is crucial that couples have honest and in-depth discussions about
their life after retirement," said Bev Moir, Senior Investment Executive,
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. Moir. "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. Moir. "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. Moir. "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: Paula Cufre, Scotiabank Public Affairs, (416)
933-1093


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