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It seems many Canadians are racing against the clock to bulk up their bank accounts in order to live a comfortable lifestyle in their golden years. New research from Mintel reveals that two in five (43%) Canadians have less than $100,000 in retirement savings. Meanwhile, just 6% are financially well-positioned to tackle retirement, with more than one million dollars in retirement savings (including pensions).

With many still working on building up their retirement savings, the majority of consumers are optimistic about their later years as 42% of non-retired Canadians expect to be financially secure in retirement and two in four (38%) feel they are on track to retire by the age of 65. Around one in five plan to rely on their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) as 22% of consumers say that their RRSP will be the primary source of their retirement income.

15% of those who haven’t retired yet say they need specialized help for retirement planning.

However, some are looking for help when it comes to planning their retirement as more than half (55%) of non-retirees say they find it hard to save for retirement. Although the majority of consumers have difficulty saving up their money, just 15% of those who haven’t retired yet say they need specialized help for retirement planning, increasing to 20% of consumers aged 25-34.

“While older Canadians tend to be generally well-positioned to tackle retirement financially, we’re seeing demand for retirement planning advice and insurance solutions among specific demographics. Our research shows that there are segments of the population that do not feel as well-prepared, including younger consumers, women and those in the LGBTQ community. However, we see only a small percentage of consumers overall seeking out advice. This makes it increasingly important for the financial industry to encourage consumers to focus on retirement planning by increasing engagement with and promoting financial security to these varied groups. For example, banks have an opportunity make LGBTQ clients feel more financially engaged and comfortable in the branch environment, with some banks connecting with this group at Pride festivals,” said Sanjay Sharma, Senior Financial Services Analyst at Mintel.

Consumers say they are taking a proactive approach when it comes to preparing for their golden years as more than half (55%) of Canadians who are not yet retired claim to have done some form of retirement planning. However, what consumers say and what they do may be different things as just three in 10 (29%) non-retirees have talked to a financial advisor, while well under one in five say they have researched government old age benefits (17%), determined their appropriate retirement income (16%) or researched insurance products for retirement (9%).

As many younger consumers are still finding confidence in their careers and are preoccupied with planning for the immediate future, thoughts of retirement are well beyond the horizon. Non-retirees aged 18-34 are significantly less likely than non-retirees aged 55+ to have begun planning for their future by talking to a financial advisor (21% 18-34 vs 45% 55+), calculating how much they need to save for a comfortable retirement (16% vs 31%) or researching government old-age benefits (9% vs 42%). In fact, while 38% of non-retirees overall say they prefer to use their money for things other than saving for retirement, this rises to half (49%) of those aged 18-34.

Whether carefree, optimistic or overly confident, the majority of younger consumers aren’t concerning themselves with retirement saving just yet as 45% of those aged 18-24 say they worry about not having enough money saved for retirement, compared to 56% of non-retired consumers overall.

“Understandably, as Canadians get older and are approaching retirement, they are more likely to take the steps to begin planning their financial futures. Meanwhile, younger consumers are putting off saving for their later years when their salaries will likely be higher and they are less consumed with more immediate concerns, such as buying a home, travelling and/or starting a family. This highlights a need for financial brands to address concerns about the risk of outliving savings in order to encourage planning strategies early on. There is also an opportunity for wealth management providers, retirement planning experts and insurance companies to offer mass-market integrated advice models across specialities such as insurance, financial, tax and estate planning, perhaps through subscription-based advice models, to reduce worry about the future,” concluded Sharma.

Press copies of Mintel’s Retirement Planning Canada 2018 report and interviews with Sanjay Sharma, Senior Financial Services Analyst, are available on request from the press office.