Happy mature woman holding hands with her family while moving up the hill towards their picnic place.

Life after work doesn’t go as expected for many retirees, according to a poll from RBC revealing the main misconceptions people had about where, when and how they would retire.

The poll found that 55% of pre-retirees said they planned to know their retirement date at least a year in advance, but only 39% of the retirees who were polled knew the date that far in advance, and 16% said they had no notice at all. 

Half of pre-retirees said they planned to continue working in retirement as a way to stay active mentally (64%) and physically (48%), avoid boredom (44%) and generate income (43%). But only 11% of retirees across Canada said they returned to full- or part-time work after retiring, and even fewer (9%) had returned to work in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

Additionally, while 29% of pre-retirees said they planned to head south for the winter when they stop working, only 18% of retirees said they were snowbirds. Rather than heading to warmer climes, retirees prioritized spending time with family (51%) and friends (48%).

Rick Lowes, vice-president, retirement strategy, RBC, said it’s never too late for Canadians to set up a retirement plan. 

“We know that the majority of Canadians do not have a retirement plan – and those who do are more prepared and confident,” Lowes said in a release. “A plan helps you understand all your options so you don’t have to make major trade-offs to enjoy the retirement lifestyle you desire.”

The biennial RBC Myths & Realities Poll was conducted by Ipsos between Apr. 2-8, 2019, surveying a sample of 2,000 Canadians aged 50 and over. The responses were weighted according to Census data.