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Social pressures and pack-mentality getting in the way of Canadians optimizing RRSPs, TFSAs, and securing their financial fut


Thursday, January 27, 2022 2:23:00 PM

- New research from Co-operators finds 85 per cent of financial professionals believe in today's "culture of now", too many Canadians can't envision prioritizing their future planning . -

As the annual deadline for RRSP contributions approaches, a new eye-opening, national research study by Co-operators has discovered that social pressures to appear financially savvy, and an emerging do-it-yourself investing culture, are presenting new challenges for Canadians' long-term financial planning.

The poll, conducted on the Angus Reid Forum Panel, surveyed financial professionals across the banking and wealth management sectors and found 85 per cent feel today's "culture of now" is hindering people from seeing retirement planning as a priority. The study also uncovered a myth around retirement planning. A good majority (57 per cent) of financial advisors believe Canadians view RRSPs as an investing tool of the past that is no longer attractive today. A further 83 per cent of respondents say they see a lot of people pretending to know more than they actually do about investing basics.

"Right now, consumers are fatigued from the uncertainty of the past couple of years; many are searching for immediate solutions, researching online and falling into a pack-mentality fuelled by a 'fear of missing out' investing anxiety," says Jennifer Cook, financial advisor, Co-operators. "Most Canadians aren't seeing the full potential of RRSPs and TFSAs right now, especially when so many others around them seem to be pursuing quick wins."

Indeed, 52 per cent of advisors across the country say the most asked about topic from their clients is by far cryptocurrency. Additionally, 55 per cent are increasingly being asked to comment on information gathered from undetermined sources on the internet. Seventy-six (76) per cent of respondents hypothesize that for many Canadians living in urban centres, home ownership is increasingly feeling out of reach, and because of this, many are looking for DIY investment strategies. They are hoping to use this as a replacement for their long-term security.

Vanessa Bowen, holistic money coach and founder of Mint Worthy says: "I believe a key part of what's holding many Canadians back from embracing RRSPs and TFSAs as important saving and investing tools is the self-judgment they put on themselves when financial circumstances don't pan out the way they originally hoped."

Case in point: 80 per cent of the study's respondents say, when people experience financial mishaps or losses, many feel overcome with doubt, and this leads to indecision and in-action. Seventy-three (73) per cent even see a stigma of shame among many Canadians around such losses. Definitively, 65 per cent believe there is social pressure among Canadians to appear "financially savvy", and according to 57 per cent, most people feel too shy to ask questions about how RRSPs and TFSAs work.

"Herein lies the biggest problem - if we don't ask questions, we will never learn and right now, I see many Canadians trying to shoulder the emotional pressure they're feeling, all on their own," says Bowen. "This is where it is important to seek out an expert advisor, release self-judgments, and ask all kinds of questions, so as to create a plan that is designed to specifically meet long and short-term goals."

The need for these conversations is great: 93 per cent of respondents believe the majority of Canadians haven't yet maximized their opportunities with RRSP planning, TFSAs, etc. Another 90 per cent think there is a lot of confusion in the understanding of RRSPs and Canadians simply aren't saving enough.

"Now more than ever, we're encouraging Canadians to connect with their financial representative and explore together how to create an investment plan that will fit their unique and individual needs," adds Cook.

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This study entitled "Canadian Attitudes on RRSPs" was commissioned by Co-operators and administered in English and French from December 29, 2021 to January 4, 2022 on the Angus Reid Forum Panel. It had a sample of 207 Canadian financial industry professional who work in the banking, financial/wealth management or insurance sectors across Canada, and who advise clients on RRSPs and TFSAs.

SOURCE: The Co-operators Group Limited