The study found that young people between 18 and 34 years old were worried about what they owed, perhaps weighed down by student loans; while those over 55 were more comfortable with their debt due to acquired savings. Despite this air of confidence, Stiteler says she is seeing more seniors retire with debt, attributing part of the problem to banks issuing mortgages to retirees.
“In my experience, if you spend less than you make, put money away and have some insurance you’ll win,” she says. “The clients I started with used that kind of strategy and they’ve seen $30,000 turn into $300,000. It’s the slow, boring investing that wins. The turtle wins the race.”
Financial educator, Jim Yih, identifies RSP withdrawals as another key contributor to retiree distress. “There’s a whole bunch of people living on withdrawals from their RSPs. They are now 60 and can’t retire. Do you want to be that person?” asks Yih. “When you look to the future, what are you going to do? Picture yourself."
According to the Ipsos-Reid poll, just 24 per cent of Canadians said they were debt-free, down two per cent from 2012.