Canadians proactive but skeptical about retirement, survey finds

BlackRock conducts global study.

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(Photo courtesy of blackrockinvestments.ca)

Canadian investors are more proactive and optimistic about their financial future than their counterparts in the U.S. and elsewhere, according to the first-ever Global Investor Pulse Survey from BlackRock Inc.

More than half (55%) of the roughly 1,000 Canadian investors with varying incomes polled report feeling positive about their financial prospects, compared with 48% of global investors. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said they take financial planning seriously and 60% use the services of either a personal financial or bank adviser. That’s more than any other country and double the global average (24%).

Still, only half of Canadian investors feel they are in control of their financial future and 36% said they aren’t confident they’ll reach their retirement goals.

“What we’re seeing is an interesting mix of Canadians’ financial conservatism and nervousness coupled with a clear desire to take a more active and informed role in managing their financial futures,” said BlackRock Canada’s Noel Archard in a press release. “Like the rest of the world, Canadians are still heavily exposed to low- or no-return cash investments, but there are guardedly hopeful signs that investors are ready to take action to better manage their money.”

The most discussed topics with advisers include seeking better returns, minimizing risk and developing a retirement plan.

So what’s at the heart of all this retirement worry? It could very well be debt and expenses, the study suggests. BlackRock found Canadians are taking home on average just 48% of pay, compared to a global average of 40%, and only slightly below the U.S. and Australia (49%). These costs translate into widespread personal savings deficits, the report said. We’re saving on average just 14% of take-home pay each month—just below the global average of 18%, and less than in the U.S. (16%), Australia (17%) or Hong Kong (29%).

As far as our investment style is concerned, we’ve got the lowest portion of assets in low or no-return cash holdings (43% compared to 56%) though that number is unlikely to drop anytime soon. Eighty-four per cent of Canadian respondents holding cash said they plan to maintain or increase their cash holdings over the next year.

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(Photo courtesy of blackrockinvestments.ca)

When asked what they would have done different given the chance, here’s how Canadians responded:

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(Photo courtesy of blackrockinvestments.ca)

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