Pandemic a bigger challenge to retirement saving than Great Recession: report
Unless all your retirement savings are invested in low-risk securities like GICs or government bonds, you’ve probably spent a lot of time watching the pendulum swings in the market since March.
A new report from Fidelity Investments Canada says it’s clear that today’s pandemic-influenced markets are worse for savers than the shaky markets of the “2008-2009 Great Financial Crisis.”
“Data shows Canadians near and in retirement are more negatively impacted by COVID-19 than the Great Financial Crisis,” states Peter Bowen, Vice-President, Tax and Retirement Research in a media release from Fidelity. “However, we are in this together and there is help. By seeking financial advice and writing down an action plan, Canadians can feel better and navigate the uncertainty,” he states in the release.
The data was gathered for Fidelity Canada’s annual Retirement 20/20 survey, which gathered data from Canadians “already in and approaching retirement.”
Here are some of the key findings mentioned in the media release:
- 40 per cent of retirees reported “a negative outlook on their life in retirement,” the worst score in this category since 2014.
- 40 per cent said their earnings had decreased owing to the pandemic, and 50 per cent said that fact, in turn, means they are “reducing the amount of money they are able to save.”
- Those (80 per cent of pre-retirees and 92 per cent of retirees) with a written financial plan felt “positive about their (future) life in retirement.”
- Eighty-five per cent of those with a plan said they worked with an advisor.
What’s different about this market rollback from the 2008-09 crisis?
According to Nicolas Samaan of Manulife, interviewed by Wealth Professional, this crisis has a different element to it.
“You’ve seen on LinkedIn people posting about losing their job and people helping each other,” Samaan tells Wealth Professional. “You see that human interaction, not just financially but in general, people making sure others are okay.
“It’s more about wellness – that is so much more important. I’ve always said to people, if you don’t have the health to do your (personal projects), it’s not going to work. In that sense, this crash was very different than what we’ve seen in the past,” he states in the article.
Samaan is right. The last crisis was scary but on a strictly economic basis – will banks fail, will the economy tank? This one has the overlay of a worldwide health crisis – will we find a way to cope with, or become immune from, this virus, and will the economy be able to hold on until that happens?
Picking stocks when markets are uncertain is not something for the faint of heart. Having professionals handle the investing is especially valuable at times like these. It’s nice to realize that the Saskatchewan Pension Plan has averaged an eight per cent rate of return since its inception in the 1980s, a period of time that included the Tech Wreck in 2000-2001 and the Great Financial Crisis a decade or so ago. The pros can make adjustments when markets take an unexpected turn, and can look at alternative ways to grow your money. Check out the SPP today.
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.