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Many Canadians are challenged to overcome barriers to retirement planning, such as the perception that the process is too lengthy, complicated and overwhelming. But if these barriers can be effectively removed, the financial security of Canadians would be improved.

As part of its seniors strategy, the Ontario Securities Commission studied and analyzed barriers to retirement planning and published details in a report. In addition to a literature review, the commission conducted qualitative interviews with pre-retired Ontarians aged 45 and older and two financial advisors.

Read: Why a little bit of retirement planning knowledge can be a dangerous thing

Overall, the report proposes 30 initiatives and tactics, informed by behavioural science, to encourage retirement planning. These initiatives could be implemented by various stakeholders, including financial institutions, government and employers, noted the report.

One recommendation is to require people to actively choose to make a retirement plan. For example, employers could pre-book meetings with employees and advisors during the workday. “Employees would then have to choose to turn down the meeting rather than choose to schedule one themselves,” stated the report.

A similar tactic is to make the future seem close or salient so that people take action. For example, an effective communication is one that includes pictures of different ways to spend retirement and prompts people to take action by choosing one.

Read: Survey finds global gap in savings rates, contributions needed for retirement

Keeping people from being overwhelmed or feeling other negative emotions is also important to the planning process.

Some of the suggested approaches in the report were tested using a randomized control trial, detailed in the report.

Five different messages prompting people to use an online retirement income calculator were included in a weekly newsletter emailed to more than 70,000 Ontario public service employees. Each employee received one of the five messages, and the experiment tested how effective each message was in prompting employees to access the calculator and begin completing it.

The experiment found that helping people imagine their social selves in retirement by evoking time spent with friends and family can be highly effective.

Read: Research finds low prevalence of retirement wealth among Ontarians

To implement this idea, potential questions include, “Picture yourself in retirement — what are you doing? Who are you with?”

This article was originally published by Benefits Canada‘s companion site Advisor.ca

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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