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TD's Sylvie Demers and relationship therapist Joe Rich offer couples practical advice on planning for a happy retirement, together

MONTREAL, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - Travel the world or stay close to the grandkids? Golf every day or volunteer? When it comes to planning the retirement of your dreams, are you and your partner on the same page? Quebec retirees say it's important to talk to your significant other to ensure you share the same vision of your future together, according to the TD Waterhouse Couples and Retirement poll. To help those couples next in line, Sylvie Demers, Vice President, TD Waterhouse and relationship therapist, Joe Rich, M.S.W, R.S.W, have teamed up to provide advice on how to plan - financially and emotionally - for a happy retirement, together.

Picture your life together in retirement. What does it look like?

According to the TD Waterhouse Couples and Retirement poll, 43% of retirees from Quebec say they had no idea, or only a vague idea, of what they wanted their retirement to look like and of those retirees who are married or in a common-law relationship, only half (52%) had the same vision for their retirement as their partner. Nineteen percent say there is conflict in their relationship because they have different retirement dreams.

"Retirement planning as a couple is about more than just saving money - you need an understanding of what you would like to do together and recognize that your vision will evolve over time," says Demers. "The key to a rewarding retirement is to discuss your lifestyle goals, and how your finances can help you meet these goals. Confidence can come from an honest discussion with your partner, and the help of a trusted financial advisor."

The retirement dynamic. Get ready for change

The TD Waterhouse Couples and Retirement poll found that 37% of retirees from Quebec who are married or in a common-law relationship say that they are closer than ever because now they get to spend more time together. One out of five (22%) Quebec retirees say that the hardest thing about adjusting to retired life is coping with change, while 18% say it is not being able to do all of the things they used to do because of a reduced income.

"Retirement creates a whole new dynamic for couples who have spent years together in the same comfortable routine of going to work and raising kids," says Rich. "There is an adjustment period that most couples experience when that routine changes. Getting ready emotionally to deal with that new reality can be tougher than people think - but talking to each other about your retirement expectations - and fears - can help to work through any issues, together."

Create a retirement plan that works for both of you

Quebec retirees have varying definitions of a "retirement plan." For more than half (54%), it is thinking about lifestyle goals and how finances can help to reach those goals, for 15% it is about putting money aside in an RRSP each year, for 10% it is developing a diversified investment strategy, and for 10% it is contributing to an employee pension plan.

"It's great that many of us recognize a retirement plan is achieved by carefully balancing lifestyle goals with financial obligations and opportunities," says Demers. "What I encourage Quebecers to do is consider where you are now, what you and your partner want to do when you retire, and how you can get from here to there. If you are unsure where to start, resources like can help."

Money, sex...and retirement - don't avoid the difficult conversations

"Retirement can be one of those taboo topics that couples tend to avoid, just like talking about sex, money troubles or problems with the kids," says Rich. "It is important to tackle this subject head-on with your partner long before you retire in order to avoid conflict down the road."

Demers agrees, "If you're saving madly for a trip around the world, and your spouse is planning on starting a business, you might be headed for some challenges. Couples who discuss their dreams openly and work with a financial advisor they trust can create a roadmap for success."

TD Waterhouse Couples and Retirement poll

The TD Waterhouse Couples and Retirement poll examined the attitudes and behaviours of 1,002 retired Canadians, age 55+ and 746 retirees who are married or in a common-law relationship. 266 respondents were from Quebec, including 186 who are married or common-law. The survey was fielded between January 14 and 18 by Angus Reid Public Opinion, a division of Vision Critical.

TD Bank Financial Group

2010 marks the 150th anniversary of TD Bank Financial Group (TDBFG) in Quebec. TDBFG has built on a long tradition of quality client service and community involvement that dates back to the opening of the first branch of the Bank of Toronto in Quebec in 1860. Today, TDBFG's Quebec presence includes over 4,000 employees and 125 offices and points of service, as well as significant investments in community programs.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves more than 18 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 6 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$557 billion in assets on October 31, 2009. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

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