Why Canadians aren't preparing for retirement
If recent reports are anywhere near being correct, Canadian Boomers 55 and over are in serious trouble when it comes to their retirement.
(Special) - If recent reports are anywhere near being correct, Canadian Boomers 55 and over are in serious trouble when it comes to their retirement.
In the last couple of months, the BMO Retirement Institute has found out that many Canadians who are approaching retirement just aren't thinking about and planning for it.
Perhaps more alarming are some of the psychological reasons for why that is happening.
Most current reports on the subject focus on whether Canadians are saving enough for their retirement. The Retirement planning: Can I get back to you on that report, however, focuses on the psychology and competing priorities that are standing in the way of Canadians saving for retirement. It finds there's a "disconnect" between what Canadians believe about retirement and what they're doing to prepare for it.
"Understanding the psychological barriers to effective retirement saving is the first step to overcoming them," says Tina Di Vito. Head of BMO's Retirement Institute.
Saving for the future is a bit like trying to stick to a new diet. "Taking responsibility for one's own retirement early on can ensure individuals will be set up for success by the time they're ready to stop working and move on to the next stage of their lives," Di Vito says. "While it's often hard to act against our natural instincts, it's critically important that Canadians take an active role in planning for their future and start as early as possible."
The first psychological barrier to preparing for retirement is immediate gratification, or placing less value on reward in the future than a benefit in the present, which often encourages procrastination. The study found that although 82 per cent of respondents acknowledged the importance of saving early for retirement, 81 per cent admit they have not set aside any savings because they are more concerned about their current needs.
The second reason is paralysis of choice, or being faced with too much information, which results in an inability to choose at all. The report found that 36 per cent of non-retirees are overwhelmed by information and this has been an obstacle to their retirement savings plans.
Another BMO survey also found that fewer than half of Canadians 55 and over have a post-retirement income strategy in place, only one third have considered the possibility of outliving their savings, and fewer than half have considered having money for unexpected expenses.
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