Albertans feeling the pinch

By Andrew Rickard | February 02 2016 07:00AM

Many people in Alberta say they are falling behind with their retirement savings.

In a survey conducted by ATB Financial, 48% of the respondents said they were not meeting their retirement savings goals. This is up from the 40% who said they were running behind in a similar survey conducted in July last year. Asked why they were unable to get on track, the cost of living and unexpected expenses were the two most common reasons.

According to two thirds of those surveyed, the drop in oil prices has had a strong effect on the health of the provincial economy; 45% say they have been personally affected by the downturn, and of these 41% indicated that their salaries have been either frozen or reduced, while 19% have lost their jobs.

To deal with their straitened financial circumstances, 61% have reduced their spending, 23% have stopped some of their regular savings and investment contributions, and 14% withdrew some of their long term savings and investments. The survey also asked Albertans how much income they think they’ll need per year in retirement: 34% of respondents didn’t know, which ATB Financial says was by far the most popular answer.

“It’s clear Albertans are feeling the pinch right now,” says Chris Turchansky, president of ATB Investor Services. “It’s more important than ever to have a clear vision of what you want your future to look like, even though the present is taking up more of your resources.”

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