The first of the baby boomers hit the official age of retirement in 2011 and many are wondering whether they've saved enough, according to RBC's most recent RRSP poll. But this cohort is dedicating as much thought to their medical files as to their portfolios. Health and wealth are closely connected for the generation on track to live longer, healthier lives than any generation before.
"It's not surprising that health is on the minds of boomers and that's why we are focusing more on how health and wealth are intertwined - we know how critical both are to a successful and happy retirement," says Lee Anne Davies, head of retirement strategies at RBC. "The older all of us become, the more we realize that retirement is less about money and more about fulfillment and living life on our own terms."
The RBC poll found that overall, boomers say their best outcome for retirement would be good health (28 per cent) followed by living life the way they envisioned (25 per cent) and having saved enough money for a comfortable retirement (23 per cent). For 64-year-old boomers, the vast majority (67 per cent) is in agreement that the best gift they could receive is good health.
"We're always asking people to think about the balance between health and finances," Ms. Davies says. "You want to be able to enjoy your wealth. You need to plan for both of them."
When it comes to financial planning, most boomers are in good shape, as these findings from the RBC poll indicate:
• Four in 10 Canadian boomers have formal written financial plans, compared to 19 per cent of the country's general adult population.
• Two-thirds of 64-year-old boomers first developed financial plans when they started accumulating assets.
• The majority (71 per cent) of those boomers who have a financial plan say they are better off because of them.
The financial plans of boomers involve more than just tax strategies for their retirement income. This group is taking a holistic view of their golden years and thinking about how health issues may influence their lifestyle and finances.
Although life expectancies have lengthened, Ms. Davies says, it is typically preceded by a 10-year period of decline in one's health. "We know a financial plan can provide you with direction and the confidence in knowing your options and how you are going to achieve your goals, even if life throws you a curve ball."
RBC has partnered with the University of Waterloo to provide advice on aging with both one's health and wealth intact and you can find resources and tools through their online Retirement Research Centre.