Canadians have goals but lack game plan

By Vikram Barhat | September 15, 2010 | Last updated on September 15, 2010
2 min read

Canadians want to retire early, go on vacation and come back to a home they can call their own.

A national survey commissioned by HSBC Bank Canada, titled ‘Tomorrow, Today’, reveals most Canadians feel financial security is a must, but not at the cost of a balanced life and personal passions.

The survey was conducted to better understand what Canadians aspire to when they think about their short- and long-term goals and what they’re doing now to reach them.

“The ‘Tomorrow, Today’ survey clearly indicates that Canadians are prioritizing social relationships, experiences such as travel and their desire to contribute to society — the very factors that are often associated with increased happiness,” says Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, who has extensively studied happiness and its relationship to financial well-being. “This is notable because people often misunderstand what will make them happy.”

The findings of the study revealed that 97% of the 1,020 respondents want to lead a balanced life. Ensuring that their family is well-cared-for was high on their list of priorities (91%); a close second was desire to travel (89%), followed by meaningful contribution to society (87%), and living a greener lifestyle (84%).

“In the survey, Canadians overwhelmingly indicated a desire to spend more time with their families (87%); having high quality social relationships with friends and family is a significant predictor of happiness,” says Dunn, “Interestingly, when asked to rank aspects of their tomorrow in order of importance, Canadians ranked travel nearly as high as owning a home, a more traditional aspiration.”

The data show Canadians are not sure how they will succeed in fulfilling their goals. Only 25% respondents expressed confidence in achieving their ideal tomorrow in five years; the confidence rises as the time frame expands. On a more positive note, the survey also found four in five Canadians are taking steps now to prepare for their tomorrow and 55% feel that their primary bank is helping them achieve those goals.

The study was released to support the launch of HSBC Advance, a personal banking package that streamlines four key areas: day-to-day banking; global services travellers; investment tools; and protection for individuals and their finances as they plan for their tomorrow.


Vikram Barhat