Retirement plans shaky for new breed of Canadian workers

A survey of non-traditional 'flexforce' workers casts a spotlight on their uncertainty and worry about the future

Retirement plans shaky for new breed of Canadian workers

Rather than pursuing one steady career with one organization, an increasing number of Canadians are going into the “Flexforce” as gig workers, job jumpers, or postponed professionals. And, as a recent survey by TD reveals, this new career path has led to changes in people’s ability to manage their finances and prepare for retirement.

In a survey of 1,101 Canadians who identified as a Flexforce professional, TD found that 64% expect they’ll need to work into their senior years due to a lack of retirement savings. Of this group, 72% are finding it hard to save for retirement, while 41% are unsure when they will retire given their employment situation. As a result, Canadians pursuing unconventional career paths are increasingly feeling uncertain (47%) and worried (34%) about their future, while an 11% minority reported feeling secure about their saving for retirement.

“Planning for retirement can be overwhelming in any circumstance, but it becomes even more challenging when it's tied to the uncertainty that accompanies Flexforce employment,” said Jennifer Diplock, associate vice president for Personal Savings and Investing at TD Canada Trust. “An increasing number of Canadians are choosing temporary or non-traditional employment and are having to rethink retirement – specifically what retirement will look like for them and what steps they'll need to take in order to feel confident about achieving their retirement goals.”

A full 55% of the Flexforce Canadians surveyed said they were unable to set aside enough each year to meet their goals; 76% said they’d made financial contributions at an earlier age. The top hindrances that have been reported to hold these individuals back from adding to their retirement savings were day-to-day bills and expenses (49%), paying off existing debt (32%), and paying for their lifestyle (27%).

“Today's changing workforce brings a number of variables and unpredictability, so building a strong foundation can help steer you in the right direction,” Diplock said. “Many employers no longer offer a pension plan and the onus now falls on employees to not only self-fund their retirement, but to also determine how much money they'll need and how to save for it.”

To help Flexforce Canadians feel confident about their retirement, TD advised them to:

  • establish their retirement goals;
  • determine how much they’d need to save to achieve those goals;
  • consult a financial advisor to set up a personalized plan;
  • use an app to measure their real-time spending;
  • consult online or in-branch resources that answer their retirement planning questions; and
  • check in on their retirement investments, either once a year or during major life milestones

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