Health, Finances Older Canadians' Most Pressing Concerns

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Retirees biggest concernWhether in Alberta or some other part of the country, virtually everyone would like to be able to retire from their job when they reach the appropriate age so they can enjoy their golden years with their family members. And as concerned as Canadians are with their finances being able to provide them with the necessary cost of living expenses, how healthy they will be at this stage in life is their primary stressor, a new survey reveals.

According to the poll, which was conducted by Ipsos Reid, nearly 57 percent of respondents cited finances as a leading source of anxiety for them in retirement, stating that a substantial change in the amount of money they have in any given month will be challenging. But among both men and women, their physical health trumped their money-based worries, with 73 percent of men referencing it as well as 66 percent of women.

Amalia Costa, a retirement and financial savings expert, noted that what may account for these fears likely stems from young boomers observing their parents and how health impacted their lives.

"Watching their older relatives and friends age has made this generation more aware that good health is not something to take for granted," said Costa.
She added that what young boomers may not realize is that their health is intricately tied to their cost of living in retirement, both from a standpoint of their own well-being as well as their parents if they are still alive.

Indeed, many Canadian boomers say that they have or are currently serving as a caregiver for their parents, taking care of various tasks that they may need to perform but are incapable of, such as updating a home insurance plan or assisting them around the house.

Caregiving has Taken Toll

While respondents no doubt are grateful for their loved ones and want to provide for them the best way they know how, caregiving appears to have put a financial strain on them. The Ipsos Reid poll found that 15 percent of respondents have had to reduce the number of hours they're at work because of caregiving and one in every four say they've had to assume more out-of-pocket expenses.

Financial experts point out that there are a variety of ways in which to budget so that people can better juggle all of the obligations they have to take care of while still being able to contribute to one's retirement saving. Many of these strategies may seem unconventional, but they can add up in the end.

For example, home insurance and auto insurance are two of several costs that come with life in Canada. But through certain adjustments and strategies, policyholders can help keep their costs down and contribute the money they save to retirement.

For example, some Alberta homeowners may have a homeowner's policy with one provider and an auto insurance plan with another. It behooves consumers to get coverage through one insurer instead, which is referred to as "bundling" policies. Most insurers will provide substantial discounts to both a home and an auto plan, whether they're being purchased at the same time or at different periods.

Another way to lower insurance costs is to quit smoking. Not only does it free up a large quantity of money thanks to not paying for multiple packs of cigarettes, but those who don't light up are less likely to be in a car accident, which was concluded in a 1990 study. Also, smokers tend to spend slightly more on auto coverage than those who don't use cigarettes.