Are you and your spouse on the same page when it comes to your retirement plans?

Imagine this: you've worked hard your entire life to support yourself and your family, you've invested your money wisely and now you can spend your retirement at your leisure, whether that's driving fairways in the day and sipping red wine on patios in the evening, or running a small business to keep you busy.

Sounds like a dream, doesn't it?

But what if you're one of the 16 per cent of working Canadians who, according to a recent study1 for TD, haven't thought about their retirement savings contributions? Or don't have a retirement plan yet? And what if you and your spouse aren't on the same page when it comes to deciding how much you should be spending today versus saving for tomorrow?

If so, you could be running the risk of setting yourself up for a retirement that is less golf courses and luxury, and more penny pinching.

Today's reality of retirement is very different from the era of generations past. We're living longer, working harder, and not saving as much. In the grand scheme of things, it's a recipe for a retirement that you had probably never envisioned for yourself.

The good news is that it's never too late to start thinking about the future.

This is especially true when you're a couple saving for retirement together. We all know that relationships are hard work, but having the retirement talk today can bring its own set of challenges to the table. Everyone has their own idea of what their retirement is going to look like, but it's imperative to review your goals together if you plan on enjoying a problem-free retirement.

Your idea of contributing "enough" to your retirement fund might be pretty different from what your spouse deems sufficient.

The same study1 for TD reveals that 79 per cent of working Canadians agree that reviewing their retirement contribution goals outside of RSP season is a good idea. The data also shows that 20 per cent of working Canadians don't contribute to their retirement savings at all.

"As a couple, it's always important to have a retirement plan that meets the needs of your long-term goals," said Jenny Diplock, Associate Vice President, Personal Savings and Investing, TD Canada Trust.

"It may be difficult to be on the same page, but having a conversation now could mean reaching your combined goals more easily and without adding any stress to the relationship. A financial advisor can help you plan for your goals, whether short or long-term, and help you manage your investing if your financial situation changes, so you can sleep more easily."

The survey also found that 23 per cent of Canadians haven't looked at their retirement savings plan for more than a year, and that nearly a third of working Canadians feel stressed out during the RSP season.

"Working with a financial advisor can bring added value to encourage you not just to save more, but also to help guide you on how to start saving to help meet your needs," Diplock said. "This can help alleviate some of the anxiousness and stress of RSP season, and help make sure you're on the same page with your life partner regarding your retirement plans."

Here are some tips that can help get you and your significant other to a more comfortable retirement:

  1. Start now: Retirement savings aren't top of mind for most working Canadians in the summer, but taking some time outside the usual RSP contribution season is a good time to review your finances and re-confirm your goals. Regardless of your investment plan, being comfortable with your savings approach – and discussing it with your spouse – can help you achieve the retirement lifestyle you've been thinking of.
  2. Get Advice: It always helps to have someone in your corner to help you assess what would best suit your needs when it comes to retirement planning. Talk to a financial advisor together to help you evaluate how best to achieve your goals and regularly revisit your retirement plan to help stay on track.
  3. Consider your options: There are many ways to save for retirement. Many Canadians are likely to finance their retirement with a combination of registered retirement savings plans, work pensions, and other means of supplementary income. Depending on your goals, you also have options such as TFSAs or RSPs.
  4. Don't spend it all in one place: Retirement can mean travel and leisure for many couples, but it's important to look at how much you're thinking of spending – and where – early in your retirement plan to help make sure you don’t negatively impact the future of your investments.
  5. Have the conversation now: Talk to your spouse and try to agree on how much to contribute each month. Figuring out where to find those contributions is vital to helping to reach your retirement goals together. For example, eating out less or making your daily coffee at home may help you save more each month.
  6. Set regular contributions: Help yourself work towards becoming #RetireReady with TD Automated Savings tools, which can help you automatically invest in TD Mutual Funds at regular intervals.

[1] TD Bank Group commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct a custom survey of 6,021 Canadians aged 18 and older. Responses were collected between February 20 and March 1, 2018. This report includes 3,653 working Canadians.