Canadians want to follow their dreams but prioritize the practical

CIBC survey shows that clearing debt surpasses bucket-list dreams

Canadians want to follow their dreams but prioritize the practical
Steve Randall

Canadians hope to achieve at least one of their bucket-list dreams in their lifetime, but more practical goals are more important.

A new survey from CIBC shows that being debt-free is more important to them than travelling or pursuing a passion. Overall, 41% say their practical list of goals is more important than their dream list (9%) while 36% say both are equally important.

Respondents are split on their current saving activity with 39% saving for their bucket list items while 36% are not.

"Whether it's skydiving in the tropics or buying the house you've always wanted, the key to reaching your goals is to save," said Carissa Lucreziano, Managing Director, CIBC Financial Planning and Advice. "The most important first step is to have a plan in place to get yourself there."  

Paying down debt tops respondents’ list of practical goals (55%) and 37% are saving on a monthly basis towards this and other practical goals, compared to their dream bucket list with 33% contributing only when they have extra funds.

For the dream list, travelling is top (65%) with vacations to Europe the biggest wish. Four in ten want to make positive lifestyle changes.

Using cash or savings is the top funding source for bucket list goals (61%) with just 14% planning to use a credit card.

Millennial risk missing goals
Millennials are saving but the poll found that many are not doing so effectively and therefore risk missing out on their goals.

Almost 1 in 5 millennials is saving for their practical bucket list with 55% aiming to clear debt but 59% are hoping to achieve this by ‘saving’ in their personal checking account or keeping cash at home.

"When putting money aside for a specific goal in mind, it's crucial to do it in the most effective way. Look for ways of saving that will help grow your money, such as a savings account, RRSP or TSFA. This way, your money has the opportunity to earn interest so you can reach your goals sooner rather than later," said Ms. Lucreziano.

Perhaps their weak savings strategy is why millennials, on average, are saving the lowest amongst all Canadians for both bucket lists, with around $11,000 for their dream bucket list, and around $14,900 for their practical bucket list.

The poll also discovered that 35% of Boomers hope to undertake home renovations, while an early retirement is among the top of the list for Gen X (40%).

Two-thirds of Canadians describe themselves as 'I like to be responsible but leave a little room for fun'.