Retirement planning: Canadians are financially burdened, not apathetic

Canadians now ready for financial help: Desjardins Financial Security's Retirement survey

LÉVIS, QC, Feb. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Even with less than three weeks left, don't write off this RRSP season just yet. Desjardins Financial Security's Retirement survey revealed that 43.3% of Canadians are actually interested in their retirement planning. 

When asked if retirement planning was stressful, the answer across the country was lukewarm, neither too much nor too little. When prompted, respondents could actually describe their retirement hopes and dreams. Besides spending more time with friends and family, the majority hoped to have enough retirement savings and to be healthy.

Time for advisors to kick in
Although RRSPs are popular nation-wide, most respondents said they weren't strong savers and admitted that financial products and services seemed complicated. This attitude was highest in Québec, the Maritimes and among 25-34 yr olds. Also, most did not have a written financial plan, a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or a pension.

According to Michael Aziz, regional vice president of investment product sales at Desjardins Financial Security, the fact that most Canadians find it hard to save presents an actual win-win situation for both advisors and investors. "If financial advisors shelve their usual 'money lecture' and speak to their clients heart, they will gain their clients' trust and investors will achieve financial security by becoming more consistent and confident investors".

What's your savings profile?
"One interesting point revealed in the survey is that Canadians want to take back control of their financial habits," said Aziz. "When asked about their financial priorities, the majority were focused on debt reduction and staying on budget. I believe that the best way to achieve these goals is by knowing yourself and your savings profile."

Five savings profiles were identified through further analysis of the survey results:

  • The Self-confident is a super-saver with little or no debt. He knows he's on the right path for a successful retirement.
  • The Engaged is typically older, has few debts and retirement is around the corner.
  • The Minimalist tends to carry a lot of debt, has little savings and isn't sure that he'll be ready for retirement.
  • The Nonchalant, the youngest of the group, is focused on finishing school and starting his career. Since retirement is more than 40 years away, he'd prefer to spend his money on cool stuff instead of saving for a rainy day.
  • The Debtor carries the most debt and has the least amount of savings. He believes that his work pension will be enough for retirement, so he tends not to put aside any extra retirement savings.

Despite these contrasting attitudes and behaviours, each expressed a willingness to seek financial advice and to make the necessary sacrifices to prepare for retirement. However, some weren't sure where to start or to find help.

"It's very encouraging that Canadians are interested in taking back control of their finances and retirement planning," said Aziz. "Being able to identify your bad money habits is really the first step to making improvements. Most importantly, finding the help you need is now really easy. It can be just around the corner, over the phone or online."

About the survey
The ninth annual Desjardins Financial Security Retirement Survey was conducted by Ipsos-Descarie. The results are based on 3,329 completed Internet-based questionnaires from August 11 to 14, 2010. Respondents were selected from a group of participants who volunteered to be a part of Ipsos' national "I-Say" panel. Given the non-probabilistic sample of the web survey, the calculation of the margin of error is impossible. Results were weighted to reflect the demographic composition of Canadians on the basis of region, gender and age according to Statistics Canada.

About Desjardins Group
Awarded the coveted title "Bank of the Year 2010 - Canada" by the UK magazine The Banker, Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of over $175 billion. Drawing on the strength of its caisse network in Québec and Ontario, and its subsidiaries across Canada, it offers a full range of financial products and services to its 5.8 million members and clients. Desjardins specializes in Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance, in Property and Casualty Insurance, in Personal Services, in Business and Institutional Services. As one of the largest employers in the country and one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate CulturesTM of 2010, Desjardins is supported by the skills of its 42,200 employees and the commitment of nearly 6,000 elected officers. For more information, visit


For further information:

Source (for journalists only):
Sarah Twomey
Advisor, Media Relations
Desjardins Group
416-926-2700 or 1-877-906-5551, ext. 2015

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