Have Canadians kicked the saving habit?

MONTREAL, Dec. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Much to the disappointment of financial institutions, Canadian household savings took a tumble during the years of economic growth. Did last year's recession teach us anything? It seems so: one third of Canadian workers and retirees (33%) claim to have altered their saving habits over the past year, according to Desjardins Financial Security's 2009 Rethink Retirement(TM) survey.

More workers (36%) than retirees (25%) said they changed their saving habits in the past twelve months, even though more than half of all retirees (53%) saw their savings and investments shrink, compared to close to four workers out of ten (36%). When asked how their habits changed, more than a quarter (27%) of the respondents said they had less money to save, while 23% indicated they put more money aside.

Is a bird in the hand really worth the compromise?

How did some Canadians manage to improve or maintain their financial situation? The answer is compromise. 55% of respondents ate out at restaurants less, 43% postponed an important purchase to avoid using credit, and 42% spent less on recreational activities. Finally, almost two in five respondents (39%) said they lowered their basic expenses.

Are these good habits here to stay? "That's not an easy question to answer. We've been through a number of recessions in the past, but when it comes to bad news, people have a short-term memory. Will they continue to save? Who knows? I really hope they start to realize they're going to live longer and their retirement savings need to last longer, but only time will tell," says Michael Aziz, Regional Vice-President, Individual Savings Products at Desjardins Financial Security.

About the Rethink Retirement Survey

Desjardins Financial Security wants to find out what Canadians are thinking about saving and retirement planning, and how it can better assist them by promoting awareness and developing products and services that are well-suited to their needs. This is our eight annual survey exploring how prepared people are for their retirement. This year, SOM conducted web survey on our behalf in August 2009. In total, 1,524 interviews were conducted with a representative sample of Canadian adults. The data was statistically weighted to accurately reflect the composition of Canadians by region, gender, age and language (mother tongue) based on 2006 Census information.

About Desjardins Financial Security

Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the largest cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in life insurance, health insurance and retirement savings products for individuals and groups. Every day, over five million Canadians rely on Desjardins Financial Security to ensure their financial security. The Company employs 3,800 people and administers over $21.9 billion in assets from offices in several cities across the country, including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec, Lévis, Halifax and St. John's. For more information, visit www.desjardinsfinancialsecurity.com.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Desjardins Financial Security

For further information: For further information: Information: Isabelle Truchon, Communications Advisor, Tel.: (514) 350-8700, extension 8668, Toll free: 1-877-750-8700, extension 8668, Isabelle.truchon@dsf.ca, Virtual newsroom: http://www.desjardinsfinancialsecurity.com/press

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