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Retirement Millennials more upbeat than boomers about affording ideal retirement

Retired person relaxing.

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When it comes to retirement expectations, millennials are more upbeat than baby boomers, according to a new survey.

Almost half of millennials – 47 per cent – polled for the Bank of Montreal say they are optimistic about being able to afford their ideal retirement lifestyle.

That compares to just 35 per cent of boomers who say they agree.

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Millennials (ages 18 to 34) also say they would need on average more than $400,000 in savings to make their ideal retirement come true.

Boomers (ages 50 to 68), on the other hand, say the magic figure is $385,000.

Both generations have a ways to go before they get there.

Millennials reported they currently have an average of $15,194 socked away in their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), compared with $65,394 for boomers.

"Considering how much time millennials have to save for retirement, their confidence in their ability to reach their target makes sense," Chris Buttigieg, senior manager of wealth planning strategy at BMO, said.

"However, they should definitely take heed of any lessons learned from their parents on what works and what doesn't with savings for retirement."

It figures that boomers would be more pessimistic about reaching their financial goal given how much closer they are to retirement, said Mr. Buttigieg.

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And yet boomers are cheerier about the prospect of retirement, according to the poll.

The study indicates that 32 per cent of them said they are excited and looking forward to retirement, versus only 22 per cent of millennials.

When asked to rate their top retirement-related concerns, the two generations agree their biggest fear is not having enough saved up to do all the things they would like to do. Forty per cent of millennials chose that option and 44 per cent of boomers.

Next comes reduced physical abilities and mobility: 38 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively; then poor health and death: 38 per cent and 24 per cent; and spending more than planned: 27 per cent and 22 per cent.

Last on the list: being bored, with 29 per cent of millennials and 19 per cent of boomers choosing that option.

The poll was conducted by Pollara using an online sample of 1,303 Canadians, including 803 non-retirees aged 18-to-64 and 500 retirees of any age. The survey took place between Nov. 12 and Nov. 17, 2014.

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A probability sample of 803 would produce results accurate to plus or minus 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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