A panel of three experts gathered at The Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto today to discuss the results of Desjardins Financial Security’s Rethink Retirement survey. The national survey, which asked 1,500 Canadians(aged 18 and over)about their preparedness for retirement, indicated that 53% have a retirement savings plan and 48% have a retirement spending plan.

However, according to 2003 data from Statistics Canada, 33% of women and 29% of men said they haven’t made adequate financial preparations for retirement. And 34% of recent retirees said they are financially worse off since they left the workforce.

Simply having a savings and spending plan, then, is not enough. When employees plan for retirement, they need to consider the risk factors involved. Employees have to take into account certain risks, such as inflation, their health and their longevity, said Monique Tremblay, senior vice-president of savings and segregated funds with Desjardins Financial Security. An employee may not realize, for example, that due to inflation, the $1 million she has saved for retirement today won’t be worth the same in 25 years. Or an employee may live longer, but he has to pay for the pills and medicines needed to help him live longer. So what can employers do to help?

“It’s hard to engage employees about retirement in their 20s,” said Marc-André Vinson, a senior retirement consultant with Buck Consultants. But that’s just what employers need to do. Vinson stressed that employers need to address retirement early and frequently.

“Employers have a wonderful opportunity to redefine their role,” said Christopher Cartwright, vice-president of The Financial Education Institute of Canada Inc. Thinking of the Home Depot motto(“You can do it. We can help.”), Cartwright said that although employers can’t provide all the retirement income, they can provide the tools and resources needed to inform their employees. “There is no lack of products out there,” said Vinson. “What’s lacking is the awareness of the tools.”

To download the survey, click here.

To comment on this story email brooke.smith@rci.rogers.com.

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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