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Hold off the happy dance: RBC study says lotto jackpot winners plan to keep on working


With tonight’s LOTTO SUPER 7 jackpot at $17 million, dreams of quitting work might be on the wish lists of lottery ticket-holders nationwide, but an RBC study of employed Canadians says the winners are just as likely to keep working than they are to retire permanently.

The RBC Survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid and titled The Competition for Canadian Talent, shows the notion of jackpot winners sailing off into the sunset never to been seen punching a time clock again is more myth than reality. In fact, when employed Canadians were asked what they would do if they were to win $5 million in a lottery tomorrow, only one-third (35 per cent) said they would quit their job and retire permanently. Additionally, half (52 per cent) indicated they plan to keep working, although not necessarily in their current job.

“As one of Canada’s largest employers, I am certain RBC’s own employees account for the sale of more than a few lottery tickets,” noted Christianne Paris, RBC’s vice-president, Recruitment and Learning. “As their chances of winning are as good as anyone else’s, it’s comforting to know that aspirations of winning the big one may not entirely be about permanent retirement.”

According to the RBC Survey, if Canadian workers were to win $5 million in a lottery tomorrow, they would:

* quit their job and retire permanently (35 per cent);
* start their own company (17 per cent);
* start a new career in a completely different field or profession (13 per cent);
* take a leave of absence but return to their current job (11 per cent);
* stay at their current job (11 per cent);
* go back to school (eight per cent would); or
* start a charitable foundation (three per cent).

Canadian workers most likely to quit their jobs permanently and retire (35 per cent) if they win $5 million in a lottery tomorrow are most likely to be between 45 and 65 years of age (55 per cent) and female (38 per cent compared to 32 per cent of men). They are also more likely to currently be working part-time (40 per cent) and unionized (40 per cent compared to 33 per cent of non-unionized employees).

Also noteworthy is that workers more likely to say they would start their own company (17 per cent) following a $5 million lottery win are more likely to be: younger (aged 18-30, 27 per cent); male (20 per cent compared with 15 per cent female); earning in excess of $80,000 per year (23 per cent), and employed in the private sector (20 per cent compared with 15 per cent of public sector employees).

These are some of the findings of an RBC poll conducted by Ipsos Reid between November 5 and November 15, 2007. The online survey is based on a randomly selected representative sample of 2052 Canadian full and part-time workers. With a representative sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age composition reflects that of the actual employed Canadian population according to the 2006 Census data.


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