Canadians should expect the unexpected when it comes to achieving life’s milestones, as 58% of Canadians have completed, or are on track to complete, major life moments in a different order than originally expected, according to a new survey from Toronto-based TD Canada Trust, the retail banking division of Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD).
Canadians who are part of Generation X are more likely than millennials to have their timeline for these milestones — which can include finishing school, getting married, buying a house and having children — shift. According to the results of the poll, which was released on Tuesday, 64% of Gen X respondents say this is the case for them compared with 52% of millennials.
“We know that priorities are constantly evolving and the big moments in our lives don’t always happen the way we expect,” says Lee Bennett, senior vice president of TD Wealth Financial Planning, in a statement. “In fact, the survey findings also show that the best laid plans of previous generations didn’t always happen as anticipated either. This is something millennials can learn from so they can better prepare themselves for unexpected — and sometimes simultaneous — life events by planning to allow for financial flexibility.”
Bennett suggests that people meet with financial advisors to create a financial plan that will respond to each individual’s unique situation and aspirations. Some of the questions that can be a part of that discussion include: how to handle multiple milestones occurring at once; whether you should plan a wedding or buy a house first; how much money is needed to save comfortably for parental leave; and how they should know if they are saving enough for retirement.
The survey also found that Canadians who have completed certain milestones reported unexpected costs related to those events. More than half (52%) of Canadians say this was the case when they bought their first home and 43% said they experienced this when they had their first child.
Those who are still working toward particular life goals may want to take a lesson from those who have already experienced those unexpected costs. For example, 42% of Gen X Canadians say they have budgeted, or are budgeting, properly for having their first child; in contrast, 28% of millennials say they have, or they are, budgeting for this major life event properly.
Environics Research Group conducted the survey for TD Canada Trust by surveying 6,149 adult Canadians between Jan. 20 and Feb. 8.