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Flexible employment creating retirement saving challenges

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(Special) – Full-time-employed Canadians are having enough trouble putting away money for their retirement, but for the growing ranks of those who have flexible and part-time employment, the task of saving for the future is even more tenuous and challenging.

A couple of recent surveys show that flex workforce Canadians and those who do not have an employer pension plan are not saving enough for their retirement.

A survey by TD Bank, for example, found that 64 per cent of flex force workers anticipate they will need to work into their senior years because they have not saved enough for retirement. Seventy two per cent of these Canadians are finding it difficult to save for retirement and 41 per cent are not sure when they’ll retire because of their employment situation.

When it comes to retirement goals, 55 per cent of flex workforce Canadians said they are not able to save as much as they need to each year to meet their goals with more than three quarters saying they wished they had made financial contributions to their retirement savings at an earlier age.

Another study from the Broadbent Institute, basing its findings on Statistics Canada figures, found that only 15 to 20 per cent of middle-income Canadians retiring without an employer pension plan have saved anywhere near enough for retirement. These people now aged 55 to 64 face a dramatic drop in their standard of living in retirement and many could spend their senior years in poverty. About 47 per cent of Canadians currently have no employer pension and even fewer younger workers have employer pensions. That means the number of seniors who slip into poverty could worsen in the decades ahead.

Currently about two million Canadians are categorized as temporary workers. “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,” says Jennifer Diplock, associate vice president of personal savings and investing with TD Canada Trust.

Diplock believes there are steps Canadians in the flexible workforce can take to help them build a solid financial foundation to feel more secure about their retirement.

The first is to develop a plan. “Regardless of age people need to define what their goals are, what their needs will be and the kind of lifestyle they would like to have in retirement,” Diplock said in an interview. “It’s very individualized. There’s no one approach that fits everyone.”

Once you’ve determined your goals, establish a retirement savings plan to help you stay on track. Diplock urges people to go online and take advantage of the many tools there, such as the TD retirement calculator that can help you estimate your retirement income needs based on the lifestyle you would like to maintain.

Once you have a picture and plan for your retirement start to turn that vision into reality by meeting with a financial adviser and set up an automated plan to make contributions into a retirement savings vehicle that will add up over time. Understand what savings and investment options are available such as a Registered Retirement Savings Plan, Tax Free Savings Account, and Registered Educational Savings Plan.

It’s also important to understand your spending and savings habits so you can adjust them if needed. TDMySpend, for example, can provide you with notifications of spending transactions in real time to help you manage your money.

Besides monitoring spending, keep a close eye on your investments. Check with your adviser at least once a year or whenever there’s a major milestone in your life like buying a home, marriage of a child, starting a business or taking on a permanent job, to ensure your plan is still taking you in the right direction.

“With the workforce changing there is a growing need to define and execute a plan because the onus increasingly is falling on people individually to prepare and save for their retirement,” Diplock says.


Talbot Boggs is a Toronto-based business communications professional who has worked with national news organizations, magazines and corporations in the finance, retail, manufacturing and other industrial sectors.

Copyright 2019 Talbot Boggs

Talbot Boggs , The Canadian Press

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