Different fears for different generations

By Staff | October 30, 2014 | Last updated on October 30, 2014
2 min read

New research from Investor Education Fund (IEF) reveals that as the financial priorities of Canadians change over a lifetime, so do their sources of investing angst.

The “Insights on Canadians and online investor education” report, released in time for Financial Literacy Month in November, surveyed more than 1,000 visitors to IEF’s GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca, Canada’s largest online financial education destination.

Read: Many Canadians don’t save for unexpected events

In the study, website visitors who were searching for investment-related information were asked about their top barriers in investing confidence. It was clear their responses highlighted different challenges for different age groups:

  • Under 30: lack of knowledge. Respondents under 30 are more likely to say they don’t understand most of the terms used by financial advisors and experts (64% vs. 49% across all ages).
  • 30s and 40s: lack of time. Respondents in their core working years are more likely to say they don’t have enough time to focus on their investments (57% vs. 45% overall).
  • 50 and older: lack of trust. Respondents aged 50 and older say their top barriers are conflicting information from too many sources and not knowing what to believe (40%) and being unsure about where to find unbiased information about investing (36%).

Overall, the top barriers to investing confidence include: too much conflicting information (53%), a lack of investing knowledge (49%) and an inability to find an unbiased source of investment knowledge (46%).

Read: Time to lower RRIF minimums

Investment-focused visitors were asked to identify what actions they will take as a result of their website visit. Top responses suggest that online learning inspired respondents to more actively look out for their own interests:

  • Ask their advisor better questions (79%)
  • Try to learn more about investing (78%)
  • Start or update a financial plan (69%)
  • Shop around for financial products and services for better value (68%)
  • Start investing or change how they invest (63%)

Retirement planning and financial tools and calculators are the most commonly searched topics on IEF’s website. Some of the top tools on GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca allow users to test different financial scenarios – such as the compound interest calculator, RESP calculator and RRSP calculator. Financial planning “how-tos” like saving money and managing debt also rank high among searches.

One-third (32%) of respondents state their top source of investment advice is an advisor, while a quarter (27%) got their best advice from the media and 10% rely on family members. Interestingly, compared to women, male respondents were more likely to go it alone without any investment advice (16% vs. 8%).

Of those who work with an advisor, many say they have delegated most of the responsibility for their investing decisions: nearly half (48%) say they rely completely on their advisor, or their advisor has most of the ideas about how to invest and the investor may bring a few ideas forward. Approximately one-in-10 (11%) website visitors work in the financial industry.

Read: CRM2 could cause irrational client behaviour

Advisor.ca staff


The staff of Advisor.ca have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.