Millennials and Gen Xers less confident on financial goals, finds CIBC poll

In a new poll surveying Canadians on their financial confidence, CIBC finds decreased optimism among younger groups

Far fewer millennial and Generation X Canadians are sure that they can achieve their financial goals compared to six months ago, finds the latest CIBC Quarterly Financial Confidence Poll.

"We had a very gloomy start to 2016, with a reeling loonie and a soft economy and jobs market, and much of that sentiment continues to weigh on confidence," states Sarah Widmeyer, managing director and head of Wealth Strategies Group at CIBC. "Our poll also reveals the stress of everyday life for Millennials and Gen Xers - going to school, working, paying your household bills, trying to save for a house, or taking care of your family. Combined with a string of gloomy economic news no wonder this cohort is feeling less certain they'll achieve their financial goals."

Statistics collected in the report indicate a 12% drop in confidence for both age groups, with only 72% of millennials and 66% of Gen Xers currently saying they can achieve their financial goals in the next 12 months. In contrast, there was a 3% increase for Baby Boomers, with 82% now confident they will meet their goals.

Slicing survey results by region, the report also finds that 68% of Ontarians now feel confident, down from 80% six months ago. Albertans showed low confidence in the first quarter of 2016, with low oil prices and a sluggish economy pulling them down to a 64% confidence level, but they are now at a slightly more upbeat level of 69%.

Overall, the numbers point to an outlook leaning on the grey side. But for Widmeyer, the important thing to remember is that perception does not have to determine reality. She suggests that during low periods, it is important for people to talk to someone who can help in assessing the situation, provide advice, and boost their confidence.

"While macro events, like Brexit, can spark fear and gloom in the markets, these are things beyond our control," Widmeyer says. "What you can control is your personal finances and how you manage them. The key is to set and prioritize realistic short- and long-term goals, and take concrete steps each month to achieve them. When you have the right plan, then periodic market noise becomes just that, noise, that really shouldn't change your financial priorities."

Related stories:
The ETF for millennials
Have financial advisors got their focus wrong?