Canadians saving their way through the recession although some feel retirement will be delayed



    TORONTO, Aug. 4 /CNW/ - Canadians have buckled down even more during the
worldwide recession and are saving their money while spending less, according
to a new international study commissioned by ING DIRECT in the nine countries
in which it operates: Canada, USA, Australia, Spain, France, Italy, Germany,
Austria and the UK.
    Ranking 2nd, Canadians continue to save at the same pace or more than
they have been over the past six months (77%), just one point behind Austria
(78%), but ahead of the rest of the countries, including the USA (72%), UK
(65%), France (60%) and Italy (59%).
    "Despite the economic recession worldwide, Canadians have remained more
optimistic about their finances than people in other countries and they've
taken charge of their own economic well-being," says Peter Aceto, President
and CEO of ING DIRECT Canada. "The majority of Canadians have continued to
save their money, building a cushion for themselves and their families."
    Most Canadians (80%) are also doing things differently to save money by
spending less: cutting unnecessary or small luxury items (56%), saving energy
(turning off lights, etc) (50%) and spending more time at home (50%). Many
have cut back or delayed spending on bigger-ticket items like new vehicles,
homes or home renovations (40%).
    "These healthy financial choices to save money and spend wisely are
always good habits to embrace, even as the economy improves," says Aceto.
    While there is growing optimism with the Bank of Canada's latest economic
forecast which predicts the recession is now ending in Canada, some Canadians
(29%) are concerned that the recession has already taken a toll on their
retirement plans. And of those Canadians who feel the recession will affect
their plans, 33% think they will need to work an additional ten years or more
than they had planned before they can retire.

    
    Other key savings trends from the ING DIRECT study include:

    Top reason to save: creating a financial cushion

    -   Creating a buffer or cushion was the top reason consumers in all nine
        countries are saving: Austria ranked it the highest (53%), followed
        by Germany (52%) and France (43%). While Canadians also ranked it as
        the number one reason to save (26%), they also named uncertainty
        about the future (18%) and saving for retirement (16%) as key reasons
        to save, similar to the USA who named uncertainty about the future
        (19%) and retirement (16%) as top reasons to save.

    Spending Wisely: What would you give up, what wouldn't you?

    -   The top three things consumers in most countries, including Canada,
        are doing to save money are cutting back on unnecessary purchases,
        saving energy and spending more time at home. But there are some
        differences: for instance, the French and Italians would rather
        travel less before spending more time at home.

    -   Canadians are also cutting back by cooking at home and bringing lunch
        to work (44%), avoiding credit card purchases (40%) and travelling
        less (35%). Although not as much as Americans who are cooking at home
        and bringing lunch to work (51%), travelling less (47%), and avoiding
        credit card purchases (46%).

    -   On a global scale, the last three things people would sacrifice to
        save money is food (35%), vehicles (25%) and holidays (25%). However,
        there are strong national differences: In Italy, for instance, small
        luxuries and fashion are ranked as more important than food.

    -   Canadians would sooner cut back on small luxury items and pampering
        services (21%), modern gadgets and technology (20%), entertainment
        and sports (17%) and expenses for their pets (17%) before food,
        vehicles, or holidays.

    Retirement: important reason to save, may also have to work longer

    -   The majority of consumers worldwide either don't know if the
        recession will affect their retirement or don't believe it will (64%)
        but 36% are more pessimistic.

    -   Of the global 'pessimists', 35% believe they will have to work an
        extra five years due to the recession, while 19% expect they will
        have to work 10 years or more.

    -   Figures are the most extreme in North America where one in three
        people who think the recession will negatively affect their
        retirement plans, expect to work an extra 10 years or more: Canada
        (33%) and U.S. (34%).
    

    The online survey was commissioned by ING DIRECT and conducted by TNS in
nine countries where ING DIRECT operates, including Australia, Canada, United
States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria. In Canada,
the survey took place between May 26 and June 9, 2009 among 1,052 adults age
18+.

    ING Direct N.V.

    ING Direct N.V. is the world's leading direct bank, offering a focused
range of simple financial products, namely savings, mortgages, payment
accounts and investment products, primarily via direct channels. ING Direct
was established in Canada in April 1997, and has since successfully launched
operations in Spain, Australia, France, USA, Italy, Germany, the UK and
Austria. ING Direct's mission is to become the world's most preferred consumer
bank. It has leading positions in all the markets in which it operates and has
22.5 million customers worldwide.

    ING DIRECT Canada

    ING DIRECT is Canada's largest direct bank with over 1.6 million Clients
and more than $27 billion in total assets. ING DIRECT gives the power of
saving to all Canadians by offering high-value, simple products such as high
interest savings accounts with no fees or service charges and low rates on
mortgages. Low cost, index-based mutual funds are sold through ING DIRECT
Funds Limited. ING DIRECT has been operating in Canada since 1997, and since
that time Clients have earned more than $3.8 billion in interest. Clients can
bank with ING DIRECT 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at www.ingdirect.ca or by
calling 1-800 ING DIRECT (1-800-464-3473).

    TNS

    TNS is a global market information and insight group. Its strategic goal
is to be recognized as the global leader in delivering value-added information
and insights that help its clients make more effective business decisions. TNS
delivers innovative thinking and excellent service across a network of 80
countries. Working in partnership with clients, TNS provides high-quality
information, analysis and insight that improves understanding of consumer
behaviour. TNS is the world's leading provider of customized services,
combining sector knowledge with expertise in the areas of Product Development
& Innovation, Brand & Communications, Stakeholder Management and Retail &
Shopper. TNS is a major supplier of consumer panel, media intelligence and
audience measurement services. It has recently merged with Research
International. (www.tnsglobal.com)





For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Joanne Ingrassia, (416)
903-0101, jingrassia@ingdirect.ca


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