Women hold their own despite recession, but worry about retirement

    
    - Ninth annual TD Waterhouse Female Investor Poll reveals financial
    confidence levels -
    

TORONTO, Oct. 13 /CNW/ - Live within your means. Start investing as early as possible. Stay out of debt. According to TD Waterhouse's 9th annual Female Investor Poll, these are the top pieces of financial advice Canadian women, aged 45 to 64 have for other women. The 2009 poll suggests that Canadian women benefitted from their own advice, managing their finances well in spite of the recession, but they are still concerned about achieving a comfortable retirement.

The recent economic downturn had little impact on the way women think and act when it comes to investing. For example, the 2009 poll shows that 73% made no changes in the past year to the level of risk they take when investing and, in fact, slightly more Canadian women define themselves as financially successful as compared to 2008 (62% vs 58%).

Despite holding their ground on investing strategy and defining themselves as successful, the majority of women have concerns about the state of their investments. Although 44% of women say they are "reasonably contented," 52% classify themselves as "mildly concerned" or "worried." These concerns range from feeling they are missing opportunities due to a lack of knowledge, to worrying they have not done enough to retire comfortably. Respondents were least confident in achieving their goal of a comfortable retirement with only 20% saying they are "very confident" they can make this happen.

"Women today have many priorities - their family, friends, health, giving back to the community. Finances are just another aspect of our lives that we have to balance, so it's understandable that many of us feel unsure about our futures," says Patricia Lovett-Reid, Senior Vice-President, TD Waterhouse. "I want women to know that it's okay to feel this way, but there are things we can do to help eliminate this anxiety from our lives."

While 97% of those surveyed say that assuring a comfortable standard of living during retirement is a top financial goal, only 30% have a formal financial plan and 27% of non-retired women aged 45-64 do not know how much money they need to accumulate before they retire in order to meet their retirement goals.

"In this case, it's the destination, and not the journey. Simply having a plan to 'save for retirement' is not specific enough. We need to ask ourselves, what kind of life we want to lead in our retirement?" says Lovett-Reid. "Only after we've determined our lifestyle goals, can we put a plan in place to make those dreams a reality. This is key to empowering ourselves and building confidence in our financial future."

The impact of the recession on spending and investing behaviour

Half of women (50%) say the recession caused them to change their spending or investing behaviour, but the economic downturn had a greater impact on spending habits. Of those women who said they made a change, 48% postponed major purchases, 46% charged less on credit cards in order to avoid interest charges, and 40% reduced or stopped their spending on non-essential purchases. When it comes to investing, 25% of those who changed their behaviour say they switched to lower risk investments, such as GICs. Interestingly, 7% say they are taking advantage of the drop in stock prices to invest more in mutual funds and stocks.

Women, risk and the recession

The recession had surprisingly little impact on women's risk tolerance. Close to three out of four women made no changes (73%) over the past year in the level of risk they take when investing. Twenty-one percent of women say they have reduced their risk, in contrast to the 14% who said the same in 2008, suggesting a shift towards more conservative investing. In the 2009 poll, only 6% of women say they have increased their level of risk.

Meeting financial goals

The top financial goals of women are:

    
    -   comfortably managing day-to-day living expenses (97%)
    -   assuring a comfortable standard of living during retirement (97%)
    -   saving for emergencies (96%)
    -   paying off credit card balances and loans (90%)
    

About the TD Waterhouse Female Investor Poll:

The ninth annual TD Waterhouse Female Investor Poll examined Canadian women's investing and financial planning behaviour. Respondents are members of TNS Canadian Facts' online panel. 1,432 interviews were conducted with women 45 to 64-years-old who have sole or shared responsibility for household financial planning or investment decisions. Interviews were conducted between September 1 to 7, 2009.

About TD Bank Financial Group:

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 approximately 17 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 through 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 5.5 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$545 billion in assets on July 31, 2009. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

SOURCE TD Waterhouse Group, Inc.

For further information: For further information: Carolyn Abbass, Karen McCullough, Paradigm Public Relations, (416) 203-2223, cabbass@paradigmpr.ca, kmccullough@paradigmpr.ca; Maria Leung, TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 983-4093, maria.leung@td.com


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