RBC Wealth Management survey: Retirement worries intensify as planning and saving get more complex


Retirement Paycheck survey compiles insights from retirement savers and current retirees on concerns, strategies and more


MINNEAPOLIS (February 1, 2024) According to a survey recently conducted by RBC Wealth Management, the top concerns of those in and approaching retirement include outliving assets and managing healthcare amid rising costs.

Knowing that they can’t solely rely on pensions and Social Security to cover everyday expenses, for this generation creating reliable income in retirement or a ‘retirement paycheck’ is also an important consideration.

The survey also shows an increase of concerns around market volatility, dying early and leaving a legacy when compared to RBC Wealth Management’s last survey from 2018.

  • 43% of retirees are worried about outliving their assets compared with 37% in 2018.
  • 32% of those approaching retirement are worried about investment loss, up from 9% in 2018.
  • 25% of those approaching retirement are worried about dying early, increasing from 11% since 2018.
  • 17% of those approaching retirement are concerned about estate taxes, up from 3% in 2018.
  • Only 53% of those surveyed said they understand how their assets and investments will work together to provide them a paycheck in retirement, while 49% understand the tax implications of withdrawals and 44% understand required minimum distributions.
  • Nearly half of respondents don’t have a documented plan for retirement. Of those who have a documented plan, 91% are confident about maintaining their standard of living in retirement, compared to only 70% for those without a documented plan.

The survey findings reinforce a need for people to think beyond saving for retirement and the importance of having a clear understanding of how their investment sources will work together to create income throughout their retirement years. This concept of a personalized income plan or “retirement paycheck” appealed strongly to survey respondents, with 84% saying it would help them make the most of their retirement years. 

“Today’s retirees need to navigate risks and establish a well-thought-out retirement paycheck that will likely come from a number of sources,” said Angie O’Leary, Head of Wealth Planning for RBC Wealth Management – U.S. “Everyone 60 and older should have a personalized income plan, so they have the financial confidence to pursue the lifestyle they want in retirement.”

To help meet this need, RBC Wealth Management created a guide for creating a paycheck in retirement and a new Retirement Paycheck tool for financial advisors to provide clients with a simple snapshot of their retirement income. Available to all clients with an RBC WealthPlan, this tool includes an easy-to-understand dashboard projecting a client’s total income up to 30 years in the future based on their retirement spending goals. For those in or within five years of retirement, the dashboard also provides a visual snapshot of what their Retirement Paycheck will look like over the next five years and where that money will come from.

“When you need to tap into your investment and retirement accounts, the timing and order of how you draw down those accounts is critical and can make a big difference in the taxes you end up paying, and when you pay them,” O’Leary added. “Most people need that visual. It simplifies the question of ‘How am I going to live in retirement?’”

Additional insights and a glimpse of how to build a retirement paycheck is available in the RBC Wealth Management Retirement Paycheck report available here.

About the Retirement Paycheck survey

A 10-minute online survey was conducted in September 2023. Respondents included 2,000 general public households in or approaching retirement across gender, race and geography in the United States. Of those surveyed, 1,000 were approaching retirement (within 5 years of projected retirement) and 1,000 were retired (up to 10 years out from retirement). Within each subset, half were defined as mass affluent ($100,000 to $1 million in investable assets) and half as high-net-worth individuals ($1 million or more in investable assets). For more details on the survey findings, contact Megan Boldt at megan.boldt@rbc.com

About RBC Wealth Management – U.S.
In the United States, RBC Wealth Management operates as a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC. Founded in 1909, RBC Wealth Management is a member of the New York Stock Exchange, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, and other major securities exchanges. RBC Wealth Management has $513 billion in total client assets with more than 2,100 financial advisors operating in 190 locations in 42 states.

Media Contact:
Megan Boldt, RBC Wealth Management