woman counting money with calculator

Canadian women over age 45 are “relatively well-prepared” financially but aren’t confident about the future, according to a poll by RBC Insurance, the insurance arm of Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada.

Regardless of marital status, more than nine in 10 respondents (92%) say they have a strong understanding of their finances.

However, nearly one-quarter (24%) say they wouldn’t be able to maintain their financial situations if their spouses or partners were to pass away, a figure that’s significantly higher among women 45-54 than women over the age of 65 (30% versus 14%), potentially reflecting greater financial responsibilities at midlife.

Additionally, one-third of women aren’t confident that they’ll be able to afford their preferred lifestyle during retirement.

“Women have long been managers of the day-to-day activities and spending in households across the country, and we’re pleased to see this reflected in their confidence about the household finances,” Selene Soo, director, wealth insurance at RBC Insurance, says in a statement. “Yet, there still is some uncertainty around their ability to maintain the same lifestyle into the future, so looking critically at their financial needs and having a plan for all scenarios will go a long way to maintaining that confidence right through retirement.”

The uncertainty is also reflected in a conservative approach to investing. When respondents were asked what they’d do with a sudden lump sum of money, the majority said they’d try to make it last long term (94%) and cited interest in conservative products that provide guaranteed income (91%).

The survey also found that most Canadian women (84%) would like to leave an inheritance for future generations. While nearly half have received an inheritance in the past and 46% expect to receive one in the future, only a modest percentage of respondents (17%) say they’re relying on an inheritance to help fund retirement.

About the survey: Ipsos conducted the survey from Jan. 11-17, 2019, on behalf of RBC Insurance. A total of 1,001 interviews were completed online among Canadian women aged 45+, with household incomes of at least $60,000, using the Ipsos I-Say Panel.