FSRA marks special day to raise awareness about saving for retirement

Half of Ontarians say they know more about their favourite TV show than their pension plan

FSRA marks special day to raise awareness about saving for retirement
Andrew Fung, executive vice-president – pensions, Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA)

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is holding its second annual Pension Awareness Day in response to research that shows a need for information about saving for retirement.

A poll by the organization shows that 88 percent of Ontarians feel more needs to be done to encourage people to save for retirement, while 60 percent feel there is not enough public information available about pensions.

The FSRA poll also says that 78 percent of respondents signed up for their pension plan immediately when they joined their workplace and 64 percent say they contributed the maximum amount that is eligible for matching. However, 49 percent admit they know more about their favourite TV show than about the inner workings of their pension plan.

To help generate greater awareness about the importance of saving and the benefits of workplace pensions FSRA is holding the 2024 Pension Awareness Day on February 15. During the day, all Ontarians are encouraged to take a few minutes to spread the word and engage family, friends, and colleagues in a conversation about retirement planning.

“We want participants, whether it's pension plan sponsors or more broadly the general public, to be talking a little bit more about the importance of retirement and savings and the value of pension plans,” says Andrew Fung, FSRA’s executive vice-president – pensions. “To the extent that there is any kind of information gap out there about retirement savings and pension plans, we want to be able to breach that gap.”

More important than ever

Fung says the topic is more important now than before because people are living longer and spending more time in their retirement years, potentially without sufficient financial assets. Even if people have employer-sponsored pension plans, it is still important to think about retirement savings, he says.

The FSRA poll shows that just over half of Ontarians (56 percent) know how much they need to save to retire comfortably, yet the majority (80 percent) have a retirement plan. Sixty-one percent believe the right time to start setting money aside is in their 20s.

The number of people in Ontario with a workplace pension (48 percent) is nearly evenly split with those who don’t have a workplace pension (47 percent). Ontarians say the top three benefits of a workplace pension are:

  • employers contributing to the pension plan (63 percent),
  • provides peace of mind about the future (61 percent), and
  • allows people to save regularly (58 percent)

“Pension plans are one of many vehicles to achieve retirement and financial wellness,” says Fung. “However, some people are not thinking about retirement until it's too late. That’s why we created a day to raise awareness of the importance of pension plans and retirement savings.”

Opportunity for dialogue

The FSRA Pension Awareness campaign includes a website with resources and tools, events, and partnerships with major pension plan sponsors in Ontario, all designed to help create a dialogue around the importance of saving for retirement. It provides an opportunity for other pension plan sponsors to communicate about the value of the benefit with its members.

“Retirement can be one of the most important and most expensive life events,” says Fung. “People need to be aware of it and start saving early to take full advantage of the effect of compounding over the years.”

He adds that it’s all about striking a balance between living well today and planning for tomorrow.

For more information, visit https://www.fsrao.ca/pensionawareness.