More than four in 10 (42%) Canadians are unsure of whether they can withstand market volatility, which reinforces the need for investors to have long-term financial plans, according to a new study released by Mississauga, Ont.-based Edward Jones on Tuesday.

“Markets, like the weather, can be unpredictable, but having a solid long-term financial strategy in place is the best tool to help steer through cloudy days,” says Patrick French, principal of client financial strategies at Edward Jones, in a statement.

The most fearful Canadians are those between the ages of 35 and 54. Only 17% of them surveyed indicate they can handle market volatility. It can be daunting for individuals within this age group, especially if they have families, to think about how they will achieve their financial goals amid market volatility, the research states.

Canadians who are 55 or older and preparing for retirement are slightly less nervous about potential market downturns, with 23% stating they’re prepared to handle such situations.

Although none of the age groups feel overwhelmingly prepared, millennials are still the most confident in the face of market instability with 27% indicating they can handle that financial environment.

“Younger professionals with no dependents and a longer workforce horizon may have a higher risk tolerance and not be as bothered by volatile markets,” the research states. “While goals at this life stage may be centred around saving for a first car or home or vacations, it’s still important to start saving early.”

The report recommends that millennials should be encouraged to make a small investment each month that can also act as an emergency fund if needed.

On a regional basis, Alberta (15%) and Atlantic Canada (14%) have the lowest number of individuals who feel they can handle market volatility. The most confident Canadians are those from Manitoba (35%) and Saskatchewan (30%) while those from British Columbia (20%) and Ontario (22%) find themselves in the middle of the pack.

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