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I was somewhat surprised to see a piece in Thursday’s Toronto Sun, written by Sharon Singleton, about Canadians and their retirement savings.  Or, in this case, the lack thereof.

Apparently, according to a poll conducted by the Bank of Montreal (BMO) Retirement Institute, only 40% of the respondents actually have any funds put aside for retirement.   Despite the fact that the more than 2,000 Canadians polled were aged 35 years of age, or older.

Should I save money for retirement?

What I found even more frightening about this poll’s results was the attitude of the respondents.  More than 8 out of 10 of them said they were more concerned with satisfying “current needs” rather than stuffing away money for their retirement.   That means relishing the immediate reward of a shiny gadget (like the best-selling iPad or iPhone), a sun-filled vacation destination to the Caribbean or Florida, or a sleek new automobile rather than the safety of a RRSP, TFSA or conservative investment like a GIC.

Of course, 90% of the respondents to BMO’s survey knew what they SHOULD be doing (i.e. salting away  that money for an eventual retirement)  but instead they were racking up credit card debt and getting deeper into a dangerous debt cycle rather than saving their money (or even paying down debt they had already accrued).

Are you one of the folks who prefers to “live for today” rather than plan for tomorrow?  I can’t help but think of the fable “The Grasshopper and the Ants” whenever I read reports like the one BMO has compiled.  That image of the Grasshopper lazily relaxing while those industrious Ants prepare for the winter is a chilling compliment to these types of statistics.

Better to be more like the Ants and less like the Grasshopper, folks.   Retirement will be upon us before we know it and those without a financial safety net could be in a very rude awakening.
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