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Poll suggests room for more, individualized financial planning

A new poll suggests too many of us don’t have a plan for our retirement.
A new poll suggests too many of us don’t have a plan for our retirement. - Contributed

Ipsos responses suggest Atlantic Canadians more likely not to have a plan

New online tools are rolling out as a means to get Canadians thinking about their financial future and developing some basic plans.

A new Ipsos poll, completed on behalf of RBC Financial Planning, suggests Atlantic Canadians could use the digital nudge.

The poll on financial independence in retirement reached 2,000 Canadians 18 and over from Nov. 20 to 26, 2018 (and is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points).

In Atlantic Canada, it noted, just 46 per cent of respondents said they have a personal plan — the lowest percentage in the provinces/regions polled.

The responses were categorized by province, apart from the use of a single category covering Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and a joint category covering the provinces in Atlantic Canada. There were no poll results from the territories.

The poll went on to cover what people were targeting for a post-retirement nest egg, what they would be willing to do to reach their goals, but also their confidence in actually getting there.

The average response for what people viewed as a comfortable nest egg varied widely across Canada, landing at about $774,000 in Atlantic Canada, slightly below the national average of $787,000.

As for reaching that goal, the confidence level in Atlantic Canadian responses was generally lower than in other parts of the country. Nationally, 16 per cent of respondents said they were “very confident” they could meet their goal, 45 per cent said they were “somewhat confident,” while in Atlantic Canada, it was 14 per cent and 39 per cent respectively.

Nationally, 39 per cent of the people polled felt they will never build their nest egg up enough. Regionally, it was at nearly half, at 47 per cent.

It sounds like a given, but RBC’s senior director of digital strategy Richa Hingorani says planning can improve your confidence in your own financial future. Seeing the gap between where you are and where you want to be is a first step. Speaking to The Telegram this week, she said the real question becomes: what is getting in the way of you making a plan?

Hingorani said it tends to come down to three things: lack of time, lack of knowledge and lack of personal interest. People may not be comfortable walking into a bank branch or making a phone call. That’s where, she said, the online tools come into play (and she spoke specifically of  RBC’s MyAdvisor online, a free tool she helped to develop, posing direct questions and taking about 10 minutes to get you started).

But Hingorani said the important thing is to get a full picture of where you stand and what you might do, given your finances are specific to you. Then comes your personal budgeting, setting and achieving realistic goals to improve your financial outlook.

“I still feel that many Canadians think that becoming debt free is important for them,” she said. “All we want to tell them: that could be right absolutely for your situation, but we want you to (be able to) see that in your own personal situation and digital advisors like MyAdvisor will help you see that and take the next step and take action towards it.”

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