Senior people walking on the beach

A significant proportion of Canadians over 50 are financially vulnerable, according to a survey by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

The survey, intended to uncover the attitudes and expectations of retirees and those about to retire, found that while most retirees believe they are in a financially strong position, about 15% describe their financial position as “poor” and almost one in three say their monthly expenses are higher than they had expected

The survey also found that working Canadians over 50 may not retire as comfortably as those who are already retired.

“Identifying and addressing the needs of older investors is a priority for the OSC,” said Tyler Fleming,
director of the investor office at the OSC. “The research results will help inform the
OSC’s regulatory and operational work in support of seniors.”

About half of pre-retirees and retirees alike reported they had experienced an unexpected event that compromised their ability to save or impacted their finances.

Not surprisingly, retirees with lower incomes were also more likely to have unexpectedly high expenses and lacked the resources to save and plan for their retirement,” the survey said.

In addition, the survey found many Canadians over 50 were not preparing financially for the possibility of physical or cognitive decline. Six in 10 retirees and four in 10 pre-retirees have not appointed power of attorney for property, 71% of retirees and 83% of retirees have not appointed a trusted contact person and 61% of pre-retirees currently saving for retirement had not considered unexpected costs of health or long-term care.

The survey of 1,500 Canadians 50 years of age or older was conducted from March 1 to April 18, 2023. Of respondents, 878 were retired and 622 were still working.