Stay ahead of inflation with these tips on how to spend less

April 27, 2023

We’re living through an era where all the everyday things we spend money on cost a whole lot more than they did a year or two ago.

With that in mind, Save with SPP decided to do a little digging for some new (to us) ideas on how to keep more of your money in your purse or wallet.

The Asterisk blog offers up a few, including the idea of ditching your landline (if you haven’t already). “Paying… for a landline you barely use just doesn’t make sense,” the blog advises.

Other ideas include getting rid of traditional cable and making do with programming from an antenna on the roof, and/or the free streaming apps offered by major TV networks.

The blog also suggests you review your credit card statements each month to look for any subscriptions you can live without.

At the Millennial Money blog, we are urged to “stop paying for music” via streaming services. This is a good one. Here at home, we “ripped” all of our old CDs, stored them in the cloud, and used the Cloud Beats app to listen to them when in the car. You already paid for the CDs, so why not listen to them?

Another good idea from Millennial Money is to make use of your local public library.

“There’s really no reason to buy books or media on Amazon when you can just as easily visit your local library for a virtually unlimited selection of items,” the blog advises.

“The thing to remember about libraries is that you pay for them with your tax dollars. So, if you don’t frequent your local library, you’re literally flushing money down the drain,” the blog adds.

Our late father would like another of the cost-saving suggestions — “turn off the lights.” The blog notes that “people often lose a lot of money because they leave lights on around the house.” Check to see if this is true at your house!

The (Mostly) Simple Life blog offers up a few more.

A good one is to borrow, rather than buy or rent. “I’m sure that I could find a family member or friend to borrow from instead of purchasing something that’s just going to sit around most of the time,” the blog advises. “We’ve borrowed tools, suitcases, and extra bedding for guests instead of buying something we might only need once,” the blog adds.

Another nice idea is to shop with cash, rather than with debit or credit cards.

“If you have a hard time sticking to your budget, don’t bring more cash than you are supposed to spend,” the blog notes. “If you only have $50 to spend on groceries, bring $50 of cash into the store.” Boomers will recall that in the days before widespread credit card use, cash with truly the Monarch of Money — the main, and most common way to pay.

The My Money Coach blog has some great ideas as well.

The blog advises us to “give every dollar a job.” Huh?

This strategy involves finding “a home for every dollar in your budget so you’re not tempted to make thoughtless purchases by thinking `if I have the money sitting around, I’ll spend it,’” the blog explains.

“Start telling your money where to go once you deposit your paycheque: pay all of your bills first, then move the remainder to other accounts, such as a savings account or your retirement fund. By ensuring that every dollar has a home, you’ll be less likely to spend away your entire paycheque. To make things easier, you can set up an automatic transfer on payday to divvy up your paycheque into separate accounts, so you won’t be tempted to spend it,” the blog explains.

Other good advice from My Money Coach includes leaving credit cards at home when you go shopping, and the classics of having a budget and tracking spending.

We’ll add a couple that have worked for us over the years. Guaranteed investment certificates are basically a savings account that pays you interest, but can’t be accessed for a specified term, typically one to five years. Money that you can’t easily get at to spend tends to grow. It’s a piggy bank that can only be opened every few years.

Shopping at thrift stores is another great way to have fun hunting for treasure while saving money. It’s amazing what you can find, and you are usually paying a few bucks instead of $50 or $100. We brag to our friends at the golf course, especially after sinking a long putt, that our vintage putter cost $3 at Value Village.

The Saskatchewan Pension Plan makes it easy for you to automate the building of your retirement nest egg. SPP allows you to make pre-authorized contributions (PACs) to your account. Through PACs, you can have money directed to your SPP account every payday, so that you’re literally paying your future self first! Check out SPP today!

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


April 24, 2023

98 per cent of workers say employers should offer a workplace pension

It’s unanimous! Or about as close as you can get to that.

An impressive 98 per cent of U.S. workers polled by Vestwell, Inc. say “it’s important for their employer to provide a retirement savings plan,” reports Benefits Canada.

The survey also found that “nearly half (47 per cent) of workers listed retirement as their number one savings goal,” the magazine reports, adding that paying off debt was seen as the top priority by 34 per cent of respondents.

There were some other interesting survey findings, Benefits Canada adds.

“While two-fifths (40 per cent) of employees said a higher salary would encourage them to contribute to a workplace retirement plan, others cited a higher employer-matching contribution (28 per cent), better financial education (eight per cent) and paying off personal debt (six per cent) as motivating factors. Just 12 per cent said nothing would motivate them and six per cent cited other motivations,” the magazine reports.

The vast majority of respondents (91 per cent) wanted employers to offer a program that offered “a guaranteed lifetime income stream, such as a deferred annuity.” Only 40 per cent of employers wanted their retirement programs to deliver guaranteed income.

It would seem that saving on their own is seen as difficult by American workers. Seventy-six per cent of those surveyed “reported some level of stress regarding their financial situation, including two-thirds (66 per cent) who agreed that inflation and market volatility has increased their previous levels of financial stress,” Benefits Canada reports.

Despite this, 48 per cent of employees agree they should be saving more.

Finally, 90 per cent of employees wanted their employers to deliver some sort of “retirement education,” and more than half (59 per cent) “agreed or strongly agreed that companies should have responded to the `Great Resignation’ with a more hands-on approach to providing retirement information,” the article notes.

It is very encouraging to see a survey report that retirement saving is seen as a top priority, and that employers should offer some sort of retirement savings program. This seems to us like a cry for help from workers on the whole retirement savings issue; it may be too daunting and complex for people to save on their own.

It’s also interesting that most respondents want some sort of guarantee around the income they get from their workplace retirement savings program. If your workplace retirement savings program doesn’t offer guaranteed income on retirement, but a lump sum, you can achieve a guaranteed income stream through the purchase of an annuity with some or all of the savings.

If you don’t have a workplace retirement savings program, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan may be able to provide some help. You can join SPP as an individual — the plan is open to any Canadian with registered retirement savings plan room. SPP will invest your savings at a low cost in a professionally managed, pooled fund, and at retirement your income options include choosing from a stable of lifetime annuities.

Alternatively, your employer can choose to offer SPP as a retirement benefit. If there’s interest at your organization, here’s where you can find out more details.

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

Experts warn of health risks if you don’t stay active in retirement

April 20, 2023

Those of us still slogging away at our jobs — maybe working from home, or perhaps beginning our return to the shop — like to dream of a future beyond work, where we’re retired and able to do whatever we want.

But if “doing what we want” is zoning out, drinking coffee, and watching movies from the couch, there could be problems lurking ahead. Save with SPP took a look around to find out what people are saying about the dangers of inactivity in retirement.

According to information from the World Health Organization, cited by the Step2Health blog, physical inactivity is pretty widespread. “Sixty to 85 per cent of people globally lead a sedentary lifestyle,” the blog reports.

“Studies show that sedentary behavior, particularly in the elderly, is detrimental to their health. Medical experts believe that older people sitting too much or spending extended periods in bed are more prone to the risks of chronic health problems such as heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, and even cancer,” the blog notes.

In the U.S., the Center for a Secure Retirement also concludes that “long periods of inactivity are bad for our health.”

“Retirees are particularly vulnerable to sedentary behavior. Retirement is associated with a 10 per cent decrease in moderate to vigorous physical activity and a 13 to 29 per cent increase in TV watching, according to a 2018 study from the National Institute of Health,” the Center notes.

The Center recommends that seniors “take a five minute walk every two hours,” or “stand and march in place during commercials while watching TV.” Another bit of advice is to “walk around, pacing, while you are on the phone” and to “do pushups against the wall while waiting for the oven to heat up or the microwave to finish cooking.”

The BBC also takes the view that an inactive retirement can have negative impacts on both your physical and mental health.

“Research from the Institute of Economic Affairs suggests that while retirement may initially benefit health — by reducing stress and creating time for other activities — adverse effects increase the longer retirement goes on,” reports the BBC.

“It found retirement increases the chances of suffering from clinical depression by around 40 per cent and of having at least one diagnosed physical illness by 60 per cent,” the article continues.

It’s inactivity that can be a chief cause of these problems, the BBC report explains.

“It may be there is no imperative to get up and out of the house, as there was when there was a daily journey to work,” the article notes. “Or it may be that a health problem has meant someone cannot – or does not want to – get out and about.”

An antidote, the network adds, is physical activity.

“Age UK runs a programme called Fit as a Fiddle, which encourages older people to keep physically active — as well as to eat healthily and look after their mental health,” reports the broadcaster. “Simply walking can offer great benefits, including boosting your mood, as can gentle exercise classes.”

Let’s recap. If you decide to spend your retirement sitting around at home, your physical health can decline, and the isolation may impact your mental health. Even light activity can help prevent these problems.

So it’s probably an important part of your retirement plan to think of what you’ll do to keep active after you log out for the last time. Consider taking a dance class, or painting lessons, or volunteering, just to get you out of the house and moving around. Your future you will be glad you thought about this.

And your future you will be pleased if you’ve chosen the Saskatchewan Pension Plan to help you save up for life after work. SPP has been helping Canadians save for retirement for more than 35 years. Let SPP do the heavy lifting of investing your nest egg — via a pooled fund and low management costs — so that you’ll enjoy a nice, extra income stream when you hang up your name tag for the last time.

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


April 17, 2023

RRSPs are still the best way to save for retirement: Golombek

At a time when many observers are saying the venerable registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) has been surpassed by other, newer savings products, noted financial writer Jamie Golombek begs to differ.

Writing in the Strathroy Age Dispatch, Golombek notes that some retirement commentators are asking if the RRSP “still has merit.”

“Let me try to un-muddy the waters by suggesting that RRSPs are likely the best way for many Canadians to save for retirement. After all, an RRSP, just like a tax-free savings account (TFSA), allows us to earn effectively tax-free investment income. And that’s not a typo: tax free, not merely tax deferred,” he writes.

So how is an RRSP tax-free? Golombek explains.

“If you go back to basics, and really think about what’s happening with an RRSP contribution, you will soon realize the investment return on your net RRSP contribution is mathematically equivalent to the tax-free return you could achieve with a TFSA, ignoring, for now, changes in tax rates. And, provided the time horizon is long enough, RRSPs can beat non-registered investing even if your marginal tax rate is higher in the year of withdrawal than it was when you contributed,” he writes.

He gives the example of Sarah, who has a marginal tax rate of 30 per cent and puts $1,000 into an RRSP.

“Applying (an) … annual rate of return of five per cent over the next 20 years, with no annual taxation, Sarah will be able to accumulate an RRSP worth $2,653. But, alas, not all the RRSP funds are hers to spend. The piper must be paid. When Sarah withdraws the $2,653 from her RRSP, and assuming her marginal tax rate is still 30 per cent, she will pay $796 in tax, netting her $1,857 after tax from her RRSP. This is equivalent to a five-per-cent annual after-tax rate of return on her $700 net initial investment ($1,000 contribution less $300 in deferred taxes on that initial investment),” he writes.

“In other words, Sarah’s after-tax rate of return of five per cent is exactly equal to her pre-tax rate of return, meaning she essentially has paid no tax whatsoever on the growth of her initial $700 net RRSP investment for 20 years. The RRSP allowed her to save for retirement on an effectively tax-free basis,” he explains.

If your marginal tax rate when you retire is lower than it was when you put the money in, you get an additional tax advantage, Golombek concludes. Did you know that the Saskatchewan Pension Plan operates very much like an RRSP? The contributions you make are tax-deductible, so you may get a nice little tax refund as a pat on the back for making regular SPP contributions. Check out SPP today!

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

Make yourself wealthy, not your bank, urges author Larry Bates in Beat The Bank

April 13, 2023

“The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself.”

This quote, from famed financier Warren Buffett, begins Larry Bates’ book Beat The Bank, a nicely written, witty and fun “how-to” on how to build wealth without handing over a massive chunk of your savings to your local financial institution.

He introduces the concept of Simply Successful Investing by encouraging us all to “learn investment basics,” to “think long-term” when investing, and to “minimize” investment costs.

He rolls out the example of two couples, the Meeks and the Ables, who both manage to save $300,000 by age 65 in their Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). At that point, the Meeks have saved $470,000 — a $170,000 gain on their investment. But the Ables, at the same point, have $856,000.

The difference, the book explains, is that while the Meeks followed the bank’s advice and invested their money in equity and bond mutual funds — carrying an average annual fee of two per cent — the Ables invested in index ETFs that charge only 0.25 per cent in fees.

“The Meeks paid total mutual fund fees of $217,600 — an astonishing 73 per cent of the original $300,000 they invested — while the Ables paid total ETF fees of just $63,900, about 21 per cent of their original investment,” author Bates explains. As well, because the Ables have so much more savings by age 65, they will receive more than twice the annual retirement income that the Meeks will.

In another chapter, Bates explains the three “wealth builders” that are out there for investors — amount saved, time (how long one has been saving) and “the magic of compounding.” The more you are able to save, and the earlier you get started, to more your savings growth will be compounded over time, he explains.

To illustrate the idea of compounding, a chart shows how $10,000 invested in Royal Bank stock would grow to $60,822 after 15 years, thanks to growth in the stock price over time. And if dividends are reinvested, the figure goes even higher, Bates writes.

Had you invested $10,000 in TD Bank stock in April, 1978, you would have $4.2 million 40 years later. “The only two investment values that really matter are the amount you pay on purchase, and the amount you receive on sale,” he writes. “The thousands of data points in between ultimately mean nothing… learning to ignore all these thousands of data points is key to Simply Successful Investing.”

Watch out, warns Bates, for “wealth killers,” which include fees (both visible and invisible), taxes, and inflation.

He offers a fee impact calculator (the T-REX calculator) at

Latter chapters provide detail on investing via discount brokerages or through “robo-investing,” both of which offer lower fees than traditional full service brokerages. Closing advice includes the idea of “automating” your investing/savings by making regular, automatic deposits.

This is a great, clearly written and very digestible walkthrough of what can seem like a very complex topic.

The Saskatchewan Pension Plan operates on a not-for-profit basis. That allows them to keep investment management costs low, typically under one per cent. No fees are charged directly to members. If you are looking for a low-fee, pooled retirement savings vehicle with a sparkling track record since its inception 36 years ago, look no farther than SPP!

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


April 10, 2023

Aim for two-thirds of your retirement income to be guaranteed

There’s a new rule of thumb for retirement planners, reports Nicole Spector, writing for Yahoo! Finance.

While you would need a lot of hands to cover off all the various retirement rules of thumb out there, this one is refreshingly simple. It’s called the “two-thirds retirement plan.”

“With the two-thirds retirement plan, guaranteed retirement income (i.e., Social Security, pensions and annuities) is used to pay for two-thirds of living expenses during retirement. The additional third of living expenses is funded via non-fixed income (e.g., investments and retirement savings),” she writes.

Let’s Canadianize this. With this plan, your guaranteed income, such as money from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) or other government benefits — along with workplace pension income and any annuities you buy — is used to pay two-thirds of your retirement living expenses. The rest comes from other retirement savings, such as money from a registered retirement income fund (RRIF), your Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or non-registered investments and savings.

The article encourages readers to “do the math” to see how this idea would work for them.

“Add up the total amount of guaranteed income you expect to receive in a month,” suggests financial coach Michael Ryan in the article. “Next, estimate your monthly living expenses, including everything from housing to food… (and) leisure activities. Multiply your total monthly expenses by two-thirds.”

This sort of estimate, the article explains, is relatively easy to do if you are already retired, but harder to estimate if your golden handshake is years or decades away.

“I tell every person I work with to pretend that tomorrow is their retirement day,” Robert Massa of Qualified Plan Advisors tells Yahoo! Finance.

“If they want to live just like they are living now, they need to pay themselves at least 80 per cent of their regular paycheque in order to maintain their standard of living,” he states.

“From there, they have a basis to work with and then they can start to ask themselves what else they want from retirement and add those costs in. Then you can project forward using inflation and come up with a monthly and annual income goal and work from there,” he adds.

If, after doing the math, you don’t think government benefits will cover off two-thirds of your retirement living expenses, you need to consider finding other sources of guaranteed retirement income, the article adds. This can be done, the article notes, through converting some of your retirement savings to a lifetime annuity when you retire.

The article concludes by recommending that everyone have a good financial plan in the present — this will make us more aware of how and where our income is being spent and what we will need in the future, when we retire. And while two-thirds is a target, the closer you can get to a plan where guaranteed income covers off all of your expenses, the better, the article concludes.

An additional benefit of guaranteed fixed income — you can never run out of it, as it is paid to you for as long as you live.

Having fixed retirement income is an option for any member of the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. When it comes time to convert your savings into income, SPP’s stable of annuities is among your options. You can convert some or all of your savings to an annuity, which will land in your bank account on the first of every month for the rest of your life. Check out SPP today!

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

Financial literacy helps decrease vulnerabilities, improves resilience: FCAC

April 6, 2023

There’s been much written of late about the lack of financial literacy in Canada, and the need to make people better equipped to deal with complex financial situations. Save with SPP reached out by email to Léonie Laflamme-Savoie, Media Relations Strategist at the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) for more information on this important topic.

We asked her first for a bit of background on the FCAC.

“The FCAC’s role is to strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians and supervise the compliance of federally regulated financial entities, including banks, with their legislative obligations, codes of conduct and public commitments,” she writes. “As part of its commitment to strengthening the financial literacy of Canadians, FCAC provides unbiased and fact-based information to help consumers make informed financial decisions on topics such as banking services for seniors and saving for retirement,” she continues.

We also asked FCAC about the programs it has established to promote financial literacy.

“In 2021, the Agency published the National Financial Literacy Strategy which aims to achieve better financial outcomes for Canadians by fostering changes in the ecosystem – either by removing barriers or by catalyzing action – that will help Canadians strengthen their financial literacy and ultimately their financial resilience,” states Laflamme-Savoie.

“FCAC’s research indicates that financial vulnerability affects a wide range of people, regardless of culture, community or background. While vulnerability is not limited to specific demographic segments, systemic barriers contribute to the fact that certain groups, such as seniors, are more likely to face financial vulnerability,” she adds.

She expanded a bit on challenges facing “current and future” seniors, particularly with retirement in mind.

“Increasing financial literacy decreases the risk of vulnerability and increases the likelihood of financial resilience. Financial literacy is key to help seniors make money decisions and manage their day-to-day personal finances. With increased financial literacy, current and future seniors are more likely to: 

  • look at retirement in a holistic manner (to consider their future sources of income/including government benefits/credits, the need for budgeting and building short/long-term savings/investments, accumulating/managing other financial assets, ensuring adequate insurance coverage, being informed about tax implications, about power of attorney, etc.). 
  • make more informed decisions and better prepare for retirement by building personal savings and assets; considering desired lifestyle, longevity/life expectancy and increasing cost of living (food, rent/housing, utilities, medication/health care, etc.) and other unique costs that can arise later in life (i.e., retirement living accommodations, living with a chronic illness/disability, losing or caring for a sick spouse, etc.) 
  • make sound decisions about when and how to retire  
  • choose financial products that make the most sense for their needs  
  • plan for and cope with major financial decisions related to life transitions (for example, losing a partner and taking on financial management responsibility) 
  • navigate and better understand how public programs and services can help them  
  • recognize and protect themselves against financial abuse, fraud and scams  
  • determine the appropriate advice and supports to help with financial decisions and with managing their finances.”

Laflamme-Savoie provided a little more detail on how financial literacy programs can help seniors.

“By providing opportunities for seniors to learn at “teachable moments” and in contexts relevant for their own situations, financial literacy programs can support them in planning for and navigating through important life events in retirement,” she writes, adding that “financial education can help seniors to: 

  • protect themselves from fraud and scams and/or from financial exploitation by family members, friends and/or support workers.   
  • adapt to changes in the banking industry, like the increased digitalization of banking products/services. With the proper support, seniors can build their knowledge and learn how to use these new products or technological innovations, thus building their digital financial literacy. 
  • understand how economic issues (i.e., economic growth or downturn/recession, rising inflation, falling interest rates, etc.) can have an impact on their financial situation, and help them prepare for and adapt their financial affairs accordingly, from both a short- and long-term perspective.”

“The National Financial Literacy Strategy recognizes these important issues and calls on all stakeholders to take them into account when designing products and services, including adopting approaches and tailoring programs to seniors’ needs,” Laflamme-Savoie continues. “FCAC offers Your Financial Toolkit, a comprehensive learning program that provides basic information and tools to help adults manage their personal finances and gain the confidence they need to make better financial decisions. Topics include, but are not limited to, Retirement and Pension.”

Finally, she writes, “as part of its mandate, FCAC oversees the compliance of regulated entities with federal regulations such as the Code of Conduct for the Delivery of Banking Services to Seniors which guides banks in their delivery of products and services that meet the needs of seniors.”

We thank Leonie Laflamme-Savoie and FCAC for taking the time to answer our questions.

She is correct — being a senior is complicated financially. You’re dealing with estate issues from your late parents, you have new and complex tax issues due to having more than one source of income. A great defence is to boost your level of financial literacy.

If you don’t have access to a workplace pension plan, and are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of setting up your own savings plan for retirement, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan may be just the resource you are looking for. It’s open to any Canadian with registered retirement savings plan room. Check out SPP today, a made-in-Saskatchewan retirement income solution!  

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


April 3, 2023

Could our own preconceptions be holding us back on money sensibility?

Writing for The New York Times, Kristin Wong reports that our own brain — and specifically, our thoughts — may be holding us back from being successful with money.

Her column reveals five ways where how we think tends to impact (negatively) our finances.

The first, she writes, is the “present bias.”

“This bias describes our tendency to overvalue the present, often at the expense of the future,” she explains. In plainer terms, this is YOLO (you only live once) thinking, Wong clarifies — that we don’t want to miss out on today’s fun, even if it is costly.

Wong cites a study by the University of Rhode Island that found that this “live for today” thinking “poses significant challenges to saving money,” and “often leads to overspending.”

Next, she writes, is “status quo” thinking, or “reluctance to change.”

“We prefer our current state of existence, so doing anything that might disrupt it — from paying off debt to rebalancing an investment portfolio — feels daunting and uncomfortable,” she writes. This change resistance, she continues, can “make it hard to build good financial habits because we assume we’ll have to make significant changes in order to do so.”

Many people, the article notes, imagine they will have to “cancel all your subscriptions,” or resort to eating only ramen noodles, and not taking vacations, “ever,” as a consequence of saving money. Instead, the article advises, “start small,” and automate savings “as much as possible.”

The third bias is “the optimism bias,” in which “when we think about the future, we tend to assume it will be better than the present,” Wong writes. A study from 2014 found that this bias can lead to people saving “less money when they assume the future will be optimistic.” For saving, this bias translates into people, “even those approaching retirement, neglect(ing) saving because they assume they’ll be in a better position to do so later.”

Instead, the article suggests, it’s better to assume the future will be more like the present — this attitude seems to encourage people to save more.

The fourth bias is “the bandwagon effect,” or “keeping up with the Joneses,” the article explains. This is “our tendency to make decisions based on what we see others doing.” The article cites the example of a woman whose credit cards were getting higher and higher balances. But, she tells the Times, “everybody we knew had credit cards and nobody was worried about paying them off. I saw my friends buying everything they wanted, and I wanted to fit in and do the same.”

To counter this bias, you need your own financial plan that is based on what you and your family want, rather than the fancy neighbours, the article explains. “When you have something meaningful to work toward, it’s easier to counteract this bias,” the article explains.

Finally, the “anchoring effect” is a bias that tends to make us “latch on to the most recent information presented to us.” In other terms, the first idea thrown out to you when thinking about financial products may be the one that sticks in your mind, even when other ideas are better. A 2022 study, the Times reports, found that those with low levels of financial literacy “are more prone to the anchoring bias.”

This is a great and very insightful article.

It’s easy, and frankly, more fun to have bad spending habits. Party like there’s no tomorrow, sure, but then you shouldn’t be surprised when you can’t afford to pay your bills. And you may feel stuck in that “paycheque to paycheque” rut, and think change is not possible. But, as the article says, you can start this long journey of change by taking small steps — being conscious of what you are spending money on, planning and budgeting, and tip-toeing into long term savings by starting small.

With the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, there are no “mandatory” contribution levels. You can contribute any amount you want to your pension plan each year, up to a maximum of $7,200. If you want to automate those contributions, you can set up pre-authorized withdrawals from your bank account that directly add to your SPP retirement savings nest egg. Check out SPP today.

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.