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BMO Fourth Annual Valentine's Day RRSP Study: Canadian Couples at Odds on Who's the (Retirement Planning) Boss

- Both men and women in relationships think they are in charge of key retirement decisions

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 02/12/14 -- According to BMO's Fourth Annual Valentine's Day RRSP Study, Canadian couples are not on the same page in terms of who they feel is the lead decision maker on retirement planning issues. Further, while 87 per cent of those who are married or in a serious relationship reported that they have had a discussion with their partner about retirement, just a quarter have had a detailed discussion and fewer than half have covered key topics such as what their ideal retirement will look like and how they will achieve their retirement goals.

When asked who is the key decision maker on retirement-related issues, the study found that:

--  Men in a relationship are twice as likely to consider themselves the key
    decision maker compared to their partner (41 per cent think they are the
    boss, 15 per cent think their partner is the boss).
--  However, women are also more likely to consider themselves the key
    decision maker compared to their partner (32 per cent think they are the
    boss, 19 per cent think their partner is the boss).

The same holds true when asked who is more focused on saving for retirement:

--  Men in a relationship are twice as likely to consider themselves more
    focused on saving compared to their partner (42 per cent think they are
    more focused, 19 per cent think their partner is more focused).
--  Women are also twice as likely to consider themselves to be more focused
    on saving compared to their partner (44 per cent think they are more
    focused, 21 per cent think their partner is more focused).

"Our study has revealed that there's a clear disconnect with regards to who's taking the lead on retirement-related issues among Canadian couples," said Chris Buttigieg, Senior Manager, Wealth Planning Strategy, BMO Financial Group. "If both partners in a relationship feel they're calling the shots and they have different views, then there's going to be conflict at some point down the road. It's critical to communicate, be open to compromise and be prepared to talk frankly about financial issues, including your plans for retirement and how they'll be funded."

He said/She said - Who's the better retirement saver?

According to the study, there appears to be a lot of finger pointing among Canadian couples on retirement-related issues:

--  Men in a relationship are twice as likely to point a finger at their
    partner for spending too much money instead of saving for retirement (37
    per cent blame their partner, 23 per cent take ownership of the issue).
    Men are also twice as likely to blame their partner for not taking
    saving for retirement seriously (35 per cent blame their partner, 18 per
    cent take ownership).
--  Women in a relationship are also more likely to accuse their partner for
    spending too much money instead of saving for retirement (36 per cent
    blame their partner, 25 per cent take ownership). Women are also twice
    as likely to blame their partner for not taking saving for retirement
    seriously (39 per cent blame their partner, 21 per cent take ownership).

The study also examined what Canadians think are the top reasons which could cause a couple to divorce; 68 per cent identified conflict over finances, ahead of infidelity (60 per cent) and disagreements about family (36 per cent).

"Money has the potential to be a source of tension and conflict for any couple, regardless of the amount they have," said Mr. Buttigieg. "While being open and honest with each other on financial matters is a good first step in building a happy fiscal union, it's also important to work together to develop a financial plan which takes into consideration your individual and joint goals and helps set the two of you up for a lifetime of financial, and marital, success."

Regional Breakdown

                                                    % of couples
                                                        who have
                                      % of couples     discussed
                        % of couples      who have    what their
                        who have had discussed how         ideal
           % of couples   a detailed     they will    retirement % who think
               who have   discussion achieve their     lifestyle    finances
              discussed        about    retirement     will look  contribute
Region       retirement   retirement         goals          like  to divorce
National             87           25            45            48          68
Atlantic             89           27            48            49          72
Quebec               81           25            41            45          53
Ontario              91           25            45            49          74
Prairies             77           24            43            46          62
Alberta              85           22            43            53          76
B.C.                 89           25            54            47          71

For more information on saving for retirement, please visit

Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia.

The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 1,001 Canadians 18 years of age and over, between January 24th and January 28th, 2014.

Media Contacts:
Amanda Robinson, Toronto
[email protected]

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
[email protected]

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
[email protected]

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