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A recent survey of people aged 50 and up has uncovered three striking misconceptions about retirement that need to be better understood because they can lead to faulty planning for the future.

The survey, sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, included 1,800 people with investable assets of $100,000 or more who were evenly divided between those who were still working and those who were retired or semi-retired. Here are the three misconceptions that were found:

Knowing your retirement date in advance: Fifty-five per cent of pre-retirees expected to know their retirement date more than one year in advance, but that was true for only 39 per cent of actual retirees and 16 per cent had no advance warning, period.

Expecting to be a snowbird: Almost one-third of pre-retirees expected to winter in a warmer climate, but only 18 per cent of actual retirees were doing this.

Planning to work in retirement: Fifty per cent of pre-retirees said they planned to work in retirement, yet only 11 per cent said they were working on a full- or part-time basis. The main reason cited by pre-retirees who expected to work in retirement was to stay active, but almost half said they wanted to generate income.

A clear lesson offered by the results of this survey is that very few people actually end up working in retirement, even if they planned to do so. Unless you put some effort into building a post-retirement career path, it may be hazardous to your financial planning to put too much emphasis on working past age 65.

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Ask Rob

Q: Is socially responsible investing a case of 'greenwashing'? There seems to be differing opinions on this. I have an account with Wealthsimple and chose the socially responsible option. I just hope that it's actually promoting ethical investing.

A: Greenwashing, for those who haven’t heard the term, means deceptively getting people to believe a product is environmentally friendly. I do not believe this is the case with socially responsible investing, where money is invested in companies that meet various criteria for environmental stewardship, their treatment of their workers and community and their corporate governance. Socially responsible investing may also exclude certain sectors, but this is not always the case. Growing investor interest in socially responsible investing encourages companies to be more ethical in how they conduct business.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

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