Regional differences in approach to retirement savings

By Andrew Rickard | March 18 2016 11:27AM

More Canadians are saving for retirement than Americans, and people in the Maritimes are more anxious about their financial future than Quebecers.

Franklin Templeton Investments’ most recent Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey shows that 70% of Canadian pre-retirees have started saving for retirement, up from 63% last year. In the United States, the percentage of pre-retirees who are setting aside money for their old age now stands at 59%, down from the 61% recorded last year. 

Workplace savings opportunities

"One possible driver of the rising retirement savings rate among Canadians could be the increasing use of workplace savings opportunities. Our survey results show that 26% of Canadians (up from 20% in 2014) are saving for retirement through workplace salary deduction programs," explains Duane Green, managing director for Canada at Franklin Templeton. "However, despite this positive savings trend in Canada, we tend to see some recurring anxieties about retirement, both from our annual survey and anecdotally in our ongoing retirement discussions with individual Canadians."

Overall, 72% of Canadians experience some level of stress when they think about retirement savings and investments. Feelings of significant anxiety were higher among those who do not work with an investment advisor, 76% of whom reported an elevated level of stress. Those who have an advisor were also more likely to have savings: 91% of pre-retirees who work with a financial advisor have started saving for retirement compared to just 52% of those who have always managed things themselves.

Quebecers untroubled about the future

The survey also uncovered regional variations in how Canadians approach saving. While 81% of pre-retirees in the Prairies have started saving for retirement, only 58% of those in Quebec have done so. As for anxiety levels, 53% of people in Atlantic Canada say they are very or somewhat concerned about outliving their assets or having to make major sacrifices to their retirement strategy. Given their low savings rates Quebecers are surprisingly untroubled about the future, with only 27% saying they are very or somewhat concerned.

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