Canadians twice as likely as Americans to be living the retirement they expected
TD’s Frank McKenna and Patricia Lovett-Reid offer insight and advice for future retirees
TORONTO, Feb. 10 2010 – Living the dream or going back to work? Worried about finances or confident in the future? How current retirees in North America feel about the state of their retirement is largely dependent on where they live, with more Canadians saying they weathered the impact of the recession significantly better than their neighbours to the south.
To understand the lessons that can be learned from current retirees’ experiences on both sides of the border, TD Bank Financial Group, North America’s sixth largest bank, conducted a study on the attitudes of Canadian and American retirees. Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Financial Group, and former Canadian Ambassador to the United States of America, and Patricia Lovett-Reid, Senior Vice President, offer insight on the study findings: the first annual TD North American Report on Retirement.
The findings were striking. The data indicates that Canadian retirees fared significantly better through the recession than their American counterparts – while American retirees are twice as likely to worry that they might run out of money, Canadians are twice as likely to be living their retirement dream.
“As a North American institution, we have an enduring focus on what our clients are experiencing on both sides of the border. We’ve seen firsthand that the financial crisis and resulting economic impact has been tough on everyone,” says Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Financial Group. “However, north of the border, Canadians’ more conservative approach to finances and our country’s intact banking system have given retirees greater peace of mind and an increased likelihood of living out their retirement the way they planned.”
What lessons can future retirees learn from the state of retirement today? McKenna and Lovett-Reid offer their perspectives on the report findings – and advice on how you can apply lessons learned by today’s retirees to your retirement planning:
LIVING THE DREAM?
When asked if they are living their retirement dream, close to 70% of Canadian retirees say that their retirement is exactly or mostly what they were expecting, in contrast to only 47% of Americans. One in four Americans say that they are not living their retirement dream at all and 29% of American retirees say their retirement is very different from what they imagined.
How retirees feel about the state of their retirement may be linked to their current financial situation. Overall, American retirees are more concerned about their finances than their Canadian counterparts: 38% of Americans say they definitely did not save enough money (vs 21% of Canadians) and while 21% of Americans are worried they did not start saving early enough, only 10% of Canadians feel the same way.
“There is a somewhat negative stereotype that Canadians are staid when it comes to finances,” says Patricia Lovett-Reid, Senior Vice President. “Perhaps, but when it comes to banking and investing, staid is good.”
IMPACT OF THE RECESSION
The report findings demonstrate that Americans are still enjoying life, even though they did not weather the recession nearly as well as their neighbours. Half of Americans surveyed are now spending less as a result of the recession but are still enjoying themselves (compared to 37% of Canadians).
Less encouraging is the fact that one in four American retirees are worried they will run out of money. Twenty-eight percent of retirees say they might need to find a job to supplement their retirement income. In contrast, Canadian retirees are more confident: 30% say they were not impacted by the recession, with just 12% concerned they might run out of money and 10% considering job hunting.
LIFESTYLE VS FINANCES
Interestingly, the top advice from American retirees to those next in line is not financial advice. Americans first recommend that retirees take better care of their health (53%) and second, talk to their spouses before retiring to ensure they have the same vision (50%), followed by maxing out their 401Ks (38%).
In contrast, Canadians are more focused on their financial health. The top advice from Canadian retirees is to max out an RRSP (48%) and then to talk to their spouses about retirement dreams (46%) followed by taking care of their health (36%).
“These findings reflect my experience in both countries, that while Canadians and Americans are incredibly similar in many ways, there are significant differences in attitudes and behaviours,” says McKenna. “With an aging population in both countries, it is essential to understand the current experiences of retirees, both positive and negative. There are learnings from today’s retirees on both sides of the border that can help to inform their respective neighbours as they plan for their future retirement.”
LESSONS LEARNED FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER
When asked about the mistakes they made in planning for their retirement, a significant number of retirees in Canada and the US say they did not start saving until they were over 40 (28% of Canadians retirees and 32% of Americans).
Among the smartest things retirees say they did in planning for their retirement were working for a company with a matching retirement savings plan or pension plan (39% of Canadians and 27% of Americans) and living within their means (28% of Canadians and 27% of Americans).
“Living within your means is ideal, particularly if you know what those “means” will look like in retirement,” says Lovett-Reid. “What you want for retirement are a series of choices, not a series of takeaways. Talk to an advisor about how you may envision your retirement and develop a custom financial plan to help you get there. Visit www.tdretirement.com for planning tools that can help get you started and keep your retirement plan on track.”
TD NORTH AMERICAN REPORT ON RETIREMENT
The TD North American Report on Retirement is a survey of 1002 retired Canadians and 1009 retired Americans between the ages of 55-70. The survey was conducted by Angus-Reid Public Opinion, a division of VisionCritical, between January 12-18, 2010.
TD BANK FINANCIAL GROUP
The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves more than 18 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world’s leading online financial services firms, with more than 6 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$557 billion in assets on October 31, 2009. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol “TD” on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges. www.tdcanadatrust.com