Posted Thursday February 13, 2020


Survey suggests Canadian workforce facing future retirement shortfall

High cost of living forcing younger workers to delay saving for retirement

A recent survey commissioned by Oaken Financial suggests that Canadian workers face a potential retirement funding shortfall with nearly half of respondents reporting that they either started late, or have not yet started saving for their retirement. Fifty per cent of workers aged 35 – 54 (generation X) fell into this category while 54 per cent of younger workers aged 18 – 34 (millennials) confirmed that they have delayed saving for their retirement.

For these younger workers, the high cost of living was cited as the primary reason they have been forced to delay saving for their retirement, followed by costs associated with raising children. As many as 38 per cent of workers aged 35 – 54 said that child-related costs were a financial burden while those aged 18 – 34 report an even higher frequency of stress with 47 per cent claiming that their children are a financial strain.

The survey also found that student debt is making it difficult for younger Canadians to save for their retirement with 40 per cent of millennials reporting that student debt is impacting their ability to save. When asked if they have had to make sacrifices to help their children financially, just 48 per cent of survey respondents in the baby boomer generation (55+) say they have done so, compared with 64 per cent of millennials and 62 per cent of gen Xers who had children.

The new “sandwich generation”

The term “sandwich generation” refers to the need to provide financial assistance to both aging parents and dependent children. Typically, we think of baby boomers as being the most likely to find themselves in this situation, but as boomers age, a growing number of younger Canadians are now dealing with this issue. In fact, nearly one third of the millennials surveyed confirmed that they are financially responsible for both their parents and their children, with 36 per cent claiming this reality is causing a strain on their finances.




18 – 34


35 – 54

Gen X



I am responsible financially for both my parent(s) and my child(ren).




Providing support to both my child(ren) and my parent(s) is causing a strain on me financially.




Younger workers counting on receiving an inheritance to fill retirement savings gap

Nearly one quarter (23 per cent) of all survey respondents agreed that receiving an inheritance was part of their long-term financial planning. However, millennials (30 per cent) and gen Xers (24 per cent) were found to be far more likely to be counting on an inheritance than boomers (17 per cent).

But for those depending on an inheritance to help provide for their retirement, the survey results point to a possible looming retirement funding shortfall. Half (52 per cent) of those surveyed indicated that they intend to use their money to support their own retirement and 48% have no plans to provide an inheritance to loved ones. In fact, at least half of respondents in all three age groups claimed they are either already spending their money or intend to spend their money in their retirement rather than leave money to provide for a family inheritance.




18 – 34


35 – 54

Gen X



When I retire(d), I plan(ned) to spend my money and enjoy retirement rather than leaving an inheritance for my loved ones.




These are some of the findings of a Leger survey using Leger’s online panel of more than 400,000 members, conducted between October 3-14, 2019 on behalf of Oaken Financial Group. For this survey, a sample of 2,003 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Leger online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are considered accurate to within ±2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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