Retirement, pensions, confusion: Time to start planning

An image of a jar labeled retirement, filled with coins. An old style alarm clock sits to the right. CREDIT: PINKOMELET
Retirement is that lofty image that most people think is always way off in the distance, decades away from actually coming to fruition.

A recent poll put forward by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Ontario discovered that 88 per cent of its respondents felt more needs to be done to encourage people to begin saving for retirement, while 60 per cent feel there isn’t even enough public information available.

Retirement is that lofty image that most people think is always way off in the distance, decades away from actually coming to fruition. What many forget is that if you don’t start planning at some point, there won’t be much there when the time comes.

That being said, many people don’t have the first clue as to what planning for retirement entails. Without even getting into pensions or RRSPs, it’s hard to navigate the realm of retirement planning and people know it.

The Fanshawe College and Here For You logos are shown. A young woman is smiling while using a laptop. Text states: Exam time can feel overwhelming. Let us help you succeed. We are here for you.

Caroline Blouin, FSRA’s Executive Vice President for Pensions said that retirement planning is a tough topic to sit down and think about.

“Thinking about saving for retirement is usually not top of mind in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, especially for those just starting out in their careers,” said Blouin. “As the provincial regulator of pension plans here in Ontario, we want to raise awareness about how participating in a pension plan can be beneficial to you and your family. Pensions can be a valuable way to help save for the future.”

According to the same FSRA study, 49 per cent of respondents knew more about their favourite television show than they knew about the inner workings of their own pension plans.

This goes hand-in-hand with a survey conducted by TD Bank that showed 60 per cent of Canadians were concerned about their future when it comes to finances and financial security.

“Given the current economic situation, it’s more important than ever to engage with your employer or union to better understand your pension and what you are entitled to,” said Blouin. “You could live up to one third of your life in retirement. We hope Ontarians understand the value of a pension plan, and the benefits of starting to save early to achieve personal financial goals.”

To better help spread awareness for people in Ontario on the importance of saving as well as the benefits that come from workplace pensions, the FSRA held its first-annual Pension Awareness Day on Feb. 16. On the day, all Ontarians were encouraged to spend some time talking with friends and family about retirement planning.

According to the FSRA study, 60 per cent of Canadians believe people should begin saving for retirement in their 20s, but when it comes to planning for the future, the FSRA believes that the sooner the better.

When going about not just your future financial plans, but also your current spending, it’s important to figure out that balance between living well now and down the road.

When it comes to pension plans in workplaces, it’s recommended to take steps to increase your contributions if you currently have one. If your workplace doesn’t have a pension plan, consider asking about them when looking for future jobs, and if you’re just starting a new job it’s important to ask your employer if they have one.

At the end of the day, starting to plan for your financial future doesn’t harm anyone and only benefits your future self.

For anyone struggling with their finances or looking to get themselves on the right course financially, be sure to reach out to Fanshawe College’s Financial Aid at 519-452-4280 or email at fad@nullfanshawec.ca. As well, you can reach out to the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) Finance Coordinator Francisco Muñoz Arguello at f_munozarguello@nullfanshawec.ca, or call 519-452-4109 ext. 16303.