Economic factors like rising inflation and interest rates are threatening Canadians’ retirement security, according to the 2022 Canadian Retirement Survey from Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and Abacus Data. The outlook is particularly troubling for those under the age of 35, whose barriers to home ownership and savings capacity — both of which have a strong impact on retirement security — are increasingly challenged by these economic conditions.
In the survey of 1,716 Canadian adults, 55% said they were concerned about having enough in retirement, which was up six points from last year. Other top concerns impacting retirement security were the day-to-day cost of living (66%), which was up 11 points, “income keeping up with inflation” (62%) and “housing affordability” (56%).
“Retirement and savings concerns have been high every year we’ve done the Canadian Retirement Survey, and now they’re being exacerbated by rising interest rates and inflation,” said Steven McCormick, SVP, Plan Operations, HOOPP. “Well over half of Canadians expect these factors to cause financial challenges and force them to retire later. At the same time, funding retirement through the sale of a home is becoming a less viable strategy for many individuals. It raises the question of whether Canada’s younger generations are headed for a perfect storm on retirement security.”
Saving for retirement top priority — but a third have saved nothing
Saving for retirement is the number two priority amongst Canadians, with 53% citing it (affording the day to day was number one, at 62%), but many are struggling to accomplish it. Thirty-two per cent of working Canadians said they have yet to save anything for retirement, and 38% said they have saved nothing for retirement in the past year.
Nearly half of Canadian homeowners are planning to rely on the sale of a home to set themselves up for retirement (45%), but that plan is becoming increasingly risky in the current environment. In addition to the high levels of concern over current housing affordability, 58% of non-homeowners said they are worried about what interest rates will do to their ability to buy a home. And an equal number of homeowners are worried about others’ ability to buy their home as they approach retirement.
“The general outlook for retirement security in Canada is darkening,” said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data. “Seventy-five per cent of all Canadians agree there is an emerging retirement crisis in Canada and 72% feel that saving for retirement is prohibitively expensive — both up seven points over last year. And if current trends continue, it will be tougher for younger generations.”
While concerns are widespread across age groups, the situation is worse for Canadians aged 18 to 34. Compared to Canadians 35+, those in this younger group are less likely to own a home (47% vs. 67%) or have savings over $5,000 (54% vs. 61%). Seventy-five per cent of
non-homeowners 18 to 34 are worried about the impact of interest rates on their ability to buy a home, and an equal proportion of homeowners in that age group are worried about their ability to afford current/future mortgage payments.
Better pensions needed — 82% agree
McCormick added: “Savings challenges are more acute for younger adults, but there is an agreement across generations that an important solution to the problem is better workplace retirement savings plans, and that everyone has a role to play on this front”:
- 82% of Canadians agreed that all workers should have access to a pension that guarantees a percentage of their working income in retirement. Sixty-six per cent are willing to pay for this access themselves by accepting a slightly lower salary in exchange for a better (or any) pension.
- 77% agreed that all employers should be required to contribute in some way towards pensions for all workers, and 74% agree governments could save money by supporting pensions that are more efficient.
- 83% agreed that without good pension plans at work, many Canadian seniors will experience poverty and 77% said workers without pensions will become a burden on the taxpayer.
“Previous HOOPP research with employers, as well as our own members, has confirmed that good workplace retirement savings plans reduce financial stress and elevate peace of mind for workers of all ages,” McCormick added. “And this in turn improves productivity for employers.”
These findings are based on a survey conducted online with 1,716 Canadians aged 18 and older from April 21 to 27, 2022. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.35%, 19 times out of 20. The data is weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matches the Canadian population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. See more detailed results here.
About the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan
HOOPP serves Ontario’s hospital and community-based healthcare sector, with more than 620 participating employers. Its membership includes nurses, medical technicians, food services staff, housekeeping staff, and many others who provide valued healthcare services. In total, HOOPP has more than 420,000 active, deferred and retired members.
HOOPP operates as a private independent trust, and is governed by a Board of Trustees with a sole fiduciary duty to deliver the pension promise. The Board is jointly governed by the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) and four unions: the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union (OPSEU), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). This governance model provides representation from both management and workers in support of the long-term interests of the Plan and its members.
Abacus Data is an innovative, fast-growing public opinion and marketing research consultancy. They use the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate top-flight research-based advice to clients. They offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and exceptional value. Abacus is the only research and strategy firm that helps organizations respond to the disruptive risks and opportunities in a world where demographics and technology are changing more quickly than ever. To learn more visit: abacusdata.ca.