I am very concerned about the findings of the most recent financial wellness survey published by Manulife Financial. Canadians are feeling financially unprepared for their future retirement. On top of that, they are wondering how best to protect their loved ones from the risk of their premature death, or if they were to suffer a serious illness or disability.
Forty per cent of participants surveyed say they are not happy with their financial situation and 60 per cent commented they aren’t saving enough for retirement. In fact, only one per cent of survey participants report that they save regularly for retirement and expect to meet their goals.
About 83 per cent also commented that they aren’t financially prepared to protect their loved ones if a disability or health emergency were to happen to them. Other concerns that weigh heavily on many Canadians include debt, at 82 per cent, and 67 per cent feel stressed due to their financial situations.
Another article says that there are people who earn $250,000 per year but are failing to save for retirement because they want their two vacations per year, they want their nannies to stay on longer, they pay others to shovel their snow and cut their grass. In general, they are spending beyond their means, acquiring significant debt in housing, credit cards, line of credit etc. This is what I call renting a lifestyle and the rent keeps going up.
So when the time comes and they have nothing and no recourse, they will turn to the government - who will then turn to those of us who cut our own grass, shoveled our own snow, and did not use a nanny, who paid off our mortgages, did not incur credit card debt, and did not run up our lines credit. The government will then take more taxes from our retirement savings that we scrimped and saved to accumulate to give to those who “rented their lifestyle” and saved nothing to retire on. It doesn’t make a lot of sense when this is the choice that those people made.
For the Canadians who have not enjoyed an elevated lifestyle and who unfortunately just got by, did not have a company pension plan, they are the people who deserve more from CPP, OAS and GIS so that they can retire in dignity. The others who believe that as long as, “We can make the monthly payment on our debt, we are OK” make it frustrating for the rest of us.
It’s about changing attitudes and educating people. But this idea is a tough sell when all levels of government set the example by taking on massive debt and borrowing beyond their means for wasteful profligate spending. So, looking at this, it’s no wonder that people do not realize that they have a responsibility to look after themselves and their families, so as not to end up relying on the government.
If you’re one of the 83 per cent of Canadians financially unprepared either for retirement or who is worried about protecting your family, I suggest you seek out a trusted financial adviser. You will learn to develop a budget that will free up cash flow to have savings for a rainy day, to afford the insurance coverage you need to protect you and your family, and build savings for a comfortable and dignified retirement.