Financial Life Stages of Older Canadians

If older Canadians could take what they know now about the financial realities of retirement and apply that knowledge earlier in life, what would they do? A study commissioned by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) provides some of those insights and more.

Toronto, ON, June 1, 2015 – If older Canadians could take what they know now about the financial realities of retirement and apply that knowledge earlier in life, what would they do? A new study commissioned by the Ontario Securities CommissionOntario Securities Commission An independent Crown corporation that is responsible for regulating the capital markets in Ontario. Its mandate is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in capital markets, and to contribute to the stability of the financial system and the reduction of systemic…+ read full definition (OSCOSC See Ontario Securities Commission.+ read full definition) provides some of those insights and more. Financial Life Stages of Older Canadians, a national study conducted for the OSC’s Office of Investor Policy, Education and Outreach identifies the top financial concerns of older Canadians, particularly as they relate to retirement planning and living. The study, released as part of the OSC’s with Seniors’ Month activities, identifies the main financial risks of Canadians aged 50 and up at each life stage and how they are being managed.

Among the key findings:

  • Unexpected events that affected finances and retirement plans – such as a need to support adult family members, health issues, stock marketStock market The collection of markets and exchanges where stocks, bonds and other securities are issued or traded.+ read full definition decline, or loss of income – impacted 6 out of 10 older Canadians.
  • Among retired persons under age 75, 35% reported that they were forced to retire earlier than they wanted. For two-thirds of this group, health reasons led to early retirement.
  • Of those older Canadians who still intend to retire, 32% do not currently have a plan in place.

The study could also prove to be of value to advisers, planners and investmentInvestment An item of value you buy to get income or to grow in value.+ read full definition brokers as it reveals what Canadians most value in terms of financial planning advice. The top five areas of advice rated as “useful” by the respondents included understanding future incomeFuture income Money that a business or income trust expects to make in the future. This income is less sure than current cash flow. Also, a dollar may be worth less tomorrow than it is today. That’s why investors often discount the stated value of future income.+ read full definition needs (68%), ensuring plans allowed them to not outlive their money (67%), preparing for health challenges (66%), generating income in retirement (63%), and knowing how to deal with inflationInflation A rise in the cost of goods and services over a set period of time. This means a dollar can buy fewer goods over time. In most cases, inflation is measured by the Consumer Price Index.+ read full definition in retirement (62%).

The full report is available from the Ontario Securities Commission.

About the survey

This report is based on 1532 completed online survey interviews with Canadians aged 50 and over. This is a national sample with quotas set for each region to ensure satisfactory accuracy, as well as aiming for a roughly equal balance of male and female respondents. The survey was approximately 15 minutes in length and respondents were free to respond in either French or English. About one-quarter chose to respond in French. The sample is weighted to correspond to the actual number of men and women in households in each region by age of respondent. The accuracy level of results is within +/-2.5% some 19 out of 20 times for the entire sample. The study was conducted by The Brondesbury Group.

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