As they approach retirement, Canada’s younger boomers (aged 50-59) are focusing on health concerns over finances, with 70 per cent ranking changes to their physical health highest on the list of top challenges they expect to face as retirees, according to the 2013 RBC Retirement Myths & Realities Poll.

Finances ranked a distant second, with 57 per cent expecting changes to income to be a challenge during retirement. Within these rankings, men (73 per cent) are particularly concerned about changes to their health, compared to women (66 per cent).

“Younger boomers are more health-conscious as they near and enter retirement. Watching their older relatives and friends age has made this generation more aware that good health is not something to take for granted,” says Amalia Costa, head of retirement strategies & successful aging, RBC.

“What they aren’t yet as aware of, however, is that health issues of their loved ones may have an impact on their retirement plans — not only on their finances, but also in terms of time commitment and emotional stress. It’s important to work with a financial advisor to take all aspects of aging into account when making future plans.”

The RBC poll, now in its fourth year, continues to underline how expectations don’t always match realities. For example, while four-in-10 younger boomers surveyed don’t expect health or disability constraints to ever change their lifestyle or independence, almost three-in-10 surveyed report that a significant health issue or decline has affected them or someone in their family within the past year.

At the same time, 42 per cent of these younger boomers surveyed responded that being a caregiver to another adult was a support role they had already performed, were doing now or expected to do in future. Some of the impact of that caregiving, already experienced or expected by younger boomers, include:

  • significant increase in stress levels (50 per cent);
  • significant out-of-pocket expenses (24 per cent);
  • moving/making accommodation changes (18 per cent);
  • reducing number of paid hours worked (15 per cent);

Recognizing the importance of advice and resources for Canadians providing care for aging relatives and friends, RBC has just introduced a series of online caregiving videos and articles within its new Seniors Finance and Caregiving section on the RBC Advice Centre. Topics covered include The Emotional and Financial Impacts of Caregiving, Caregiving from a Distance, Balancing Work and Caregiving, Financial Costs of Care and Avoid Caregiver Burnout — Ten Top Tips.

The survey was conducted via online interviews by Ipsos Reid from February 27 to March 12 using a national sample of 2,159 adults aged 50 and over with household assets of at least $100,000 from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel.