Fewer than half of working age Canadians have a workplace retirement plan, according to the Manulife Investor Sentiment Index.

Produced by Manulife Financial, the index is a semi-annual measure of investors’ views on a range of asset classes and savings and investment vehicles, as well as their confidence in these areas. Now in its 15th year and conducted by Research House, the index is based on an online survey of 1,000 Canadians ages 25 and older.

The survey shows that fewer than half (47 percent) of working age Canadians have a workplace retirement savings plan. The research also finds that most Canadians are risk-averse in their approach to saving and investing and are likely missing opportunities to safely increase their savings, such as maximizing an employer-sponsored pension plan.

“Access to workplace savings plans and financial advice can help Canadians plan for a better retirement,” said Marianne Harrison, senior executive vice president and general manager of Manulife’s Canadian Division.  “The action taken by the [Canadian] federal government in 2012 to pass the Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPP) Act, creates a national awareness that Canadians need to save for retirement. We continue to work closely with the federal and provincial governments to help make this savings solution available across the country.”

Survey findings also show that working Canadians are less likely to consult a financial advisor to help manage their workplace retirement plan.

  • 6 per cent of working Canadians receive advice from an advisor to help them manage their workplace retirement plan.
  • 38 per cent are interested in having their employer contract a third-party company to support them with planning for retirement.
  • 66 per cent are likely to keep the investments within their employer plan and begin to draw an income when they retire rather than transfer the assets to another financial institution.