7 Reasons Canadians Fail to Plan Ahead

Although many Canadians know the importance of planning ahead for their financial future, too few take the initiative to make it happen. Since they interact with the Canadian public every day, the Financial Planning Standards Council asked Certified Financial Planners to share some reasons as to why this is so often the case.

“Confusion, procrastination and some long-standing myths continue to be serious roadblocks standing in the way of Canadians bringing more financial planning into their lives,” says Tamara Smith, Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Affairs, FPSC.

The results come in the form of a survey done earlier this fall listing the top seven reasons Canadians fail to have a financial plan. Here are the highest ranked statements–and how you can overcome them.

1. They think financial planning is only about investing or retirement.

While investing and retirement are extremely important, financial planning has a lot to do with your every day life, too. It’s not just about years down the road. Better planning today can help you as immediately as a day, a week or a month down the line.

2. They are too busy and fail to make it a priority.

It seems that life has never been more hectic than it is in our 21st-century world where never-ending commitments get the best of even the most well-intentioned. But if you want a promising financial future, you need to make the time. The earlier you get started, the better your outlook–and financial reality–will be.

3. They don’t realize the value financial planning could have on their life.

Keeping track of what you’re spending and actually sticking to a budget can make a huge difference. Cutting out frivolous spending might be the key to realizing you can take a vacation this year. Being more aware of your financial habits is key. Try it–even for a couple weeks–and you’ll see the proof is in the pudding.

4. They procrastinate and think they have plenty of time.

You never know what life is going to throw at you. Because of this, it never hurts to be prepared. The more time you spend working at saving and paying off debt, the faster you’ll reach your financial goals.

5. They think financial planning is about numbers and they don’t realize it’s about life goals.

Financial planning is the tool that allows you to realize your life goals. If you hope to retire by 65 or take a trip around the world, these hopes can only take place if you’ve laid the financial groundwork to make them happen.

6. They think they have to be wealthier to merit having a financial plan.

Wealthy or not, your finances need to be kept in order. That being said, if money is a fleeting resource for you, all the more attention should be put into planning in order to achieve financial freedom. Every dollar counts no matter what your income level or financial situation.

7. They think if they have an RRSP or some investments then they have a financial plan.

Your financial plan is every aspect of your finances. Do you have an emergency fund? Are you paying down your debt? Look at the whole picture in order to better understand how your financial life is doing.

Other reasons Canadians fail to plan included the belief that they don’t know how to get started, they fear the process will be complicated and they are embarrassed and uncomfortable talking about finances with a planner.

At the end of the day, being prepared financially will give you the freedom to achieve your goals. Whether or not you’ll be facing an ugly truth by looking at all the details, being informed will empower you to make the most beneficial choices for you and your family.

2 Responses to 7 Reasons Canadians Fail to Plan Ahead

  1. Great post Vanessa. I’ve talked to many people that have contacted me privately or on social media when I pose the question “Do you budget” or ” Do you save for emergencies” or “Do you have an RRSP, TFSA, RESP” and so on. I’ve received the answer, no I don’t understand how o budget and plan, why should I have $0 dollars left at the end of the month and so on. So yes I think that some think that financial planning is only for people that have excess money to invest or save. I think that many people are confused and don’t know where to begin but what I say is that it all starts with education. I shared this post on my FB page to see what my fans have to say. Cheers Mr.CBB

  2. Hi Vanessa,

    I agree with this article. My name is Stephanie and I work at TD. As an expert on our financial forum, TD Helps, a ‘lack of planning’ is something I come across quite frequently in financial planning but also debt repayment. There are lots of people in financial strait. I think that the first step is realizing there’s a problem — then you need a compass to find your way back. There are lots of tools available like budgets that can give a better understanding where the money is going. Here is a link to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada which discusses Budgeting and Money Management: http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/eng/consumers/budgetmoney/index-eng.asp. You can also check out this TD site that can help get your finances organized: http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/planning/everyday-finances-made-easy/get-organized/create-a-budget.jsp. Cheers.

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