Cost of living, “best guess” planning hindering Canadian retirement savings efforts: CIBC poll
June 1, 2023
A recent poll by CIBC found that while most Canadians hope to retire by age 61, more than half (57 per cent) worry whether “they’ll actually be able to achieve that ambition.”
As well, a very high percentage — 66 per cent — of pre-retirees surveyed worry “about running out of money in retirement.”
Save with SPP reached out to CIBC to follow up on these results, and got some comments from Carissa Lucreziano, Vice-President, Financial and Investment Advice, CIBC.
Q. Quite an eye-opener to see that two-thirds of people worry they might run out of money in retirement. We wondered if you got any information on the causes of this worry – maybe more people are drawing down a lump sum of money in a registered retirement income fund (RRIF) versus receiving monthly workplace pension cheques? Or is it worry they’ll lose money in the markets?
A. The rising cost of living is increasing faster than people expected which in turn is impacting many Canadians’ ability to save for retirement and other goals, which has them feeling less prepared for the future and worried about their retirement savings. A recent CIBC poll found that inflation is the top financial concern for 65 per cent of Canadians right now. While inflation is cyclical, many people are thinking, if inflation keeps going up at this rate, it’s going to affect my retirement plan.
Another reason people may be worried is because they don’t know how much they will need in retirement. One third of Canadians simply hope they have enough to retire, 20 per cent have sat down to run the numbers on their own and only 14 per cent have enlisted the help of an advisor. It’s like going on a road trip without planning a route, of course you’ll be worried about getting lost.
Given all the factors you need to consider in a retirement plan, it’s best to sit down with an experienced advisor who can map out a strategy that aligns with your goals, your current situation and how you expect your circumstances to change in the future.
Q. We were interested in the quote in the release about the importance of having a financial plan. Wondered if you could expand (briefly) on what sorts of things should be in a plan – probably it is looking at what future retirement income will be versus expected expenses, and then including the great things listed in the release like travelling?
A. A financial plan is your big picture, giving you a detailed look at your current financial situation to help you prioritize and manage your short- and long-term goals – like travel, renovations, and retirement.
The key items that should be included in every financial plan are your income, expenses, net worth, investment strategy, retirement, and estate plan.
Many advisors use a goal planning tool to build a personalized plan that addresses all your needs, while taking into consideration any “what if” scenarios to see how any major changes might affect your overall plan. What if you buy a cottage at age 55 or gift money to your children at age 75? It is important to understand the financial implications of any big moves before you make them.
The most important thing to remember though, is that your plan should grow and change as you do. Ideally, you should be reviewing it every year or whenever there is a material change like employment, divorce, marriage or having a child.
Q. It’s interesting that many people are saving for retirement more via Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) than by traditional registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs). Wondered if you learned any of the reasons why they preferred the TFSA – tax free income when you withdraw the money? Accessible for emergency spending en route to retirement? Maybe it is not impactful on one’s Old Age Security (OAS) qualification?
A. Right now, Canadians are prioritizing day-to-day needs over long-term planning. This means, for many, that they are saving more in their TFSA over their RRSP.
Contributing to a TFSA is a terrific way to save for both short- and long-term goals. A TFSA gives you the flexibility to access money easily and any interest, dividends, and capital gains earned are tax-free. The funds you withdraw from your TFSA also do not count as income, so it will not affect the amount of OAS you qualify for when you are over the age of 65.
You don’t have to choose between an RRSP or a TFSA. However, one could give you more benefits than the other depending on your situation. An advisor can help you understand your options and how it fits into your plan.
Q. Finally, what was the one thing that surprised you the most about these results?
What stood out to me is that most Canadians polled are relying on their best guess for how much they will need to fund their retirement. Only 14 per cent have met with an advisor to run the numbers.
An advisor can help you get a better understanding of your big picture and put an actionable plan in place, setting you up for success! It may seem overwhelming, but you can get there with the right support. Plus, you will be able to enjoy your next chapter, knowing that you are in a good place financially. Financial wellbeing is so important.
Our thanks to Carissa Lucreziano and CIBC for taking the time to respond to us!
The Saskatchewan Pension Plan has been helping Canadians save for retirement for more than 35 years. Now, saving for retirement is simpler than ever before. There’s no longer a dollar limit on how much you can contribute to SPP during the limit — you can contribute any amount up to the total of your available RRSP room. And if you are making a transfer into SPP from another RRSP, you can transfer any or all of it — no limit applies. It’s a limitless opportunity for retirement saving! Check out SPP today!
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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.