An new study released Monday shows a disconnect between millennials’ financial realities and retirement expectations.
The study, conducted by Angus Reid Institute, finds one-in-three Canadians (32 per cent) have put off saving for retirement because of their debt. Millions more – especially those under the age of 40 – have put off buying a home (18 per cent), getting married (8 per cent), having children (7 per cent) or moving out of their parents’ homes (5 per cent).
Despite relatively few young Canadians reporting job stability or having more than $25,000 saved, they seem to be looking toward retirement with surprising optimism, the study found.
Young people are more likely to view their debt as significant and – though they mostly feel this debt is manageable – more than four-in-ten Canadians ages 26-37 say they have put off saving for retirement because of it.
At the same time, on average the youngest Canadians expect to retire earlier and live better in retirement compared to their elders.
Roughly one-third of older Canadians expect to struggle to make ends meet during retirement, and anticipate relying on funds from the government or work pensions.
Meanwhile, younger Canadians are more likely to expect to use personal retirement savings to do everything they want after concluding their careers.
“How young Canadians plan to achieve this expected level of comfort in retirement is an open question,” the study said.
Overall, the study found more than three-quarters of Canadians are carrying debt.
For every dollar of disposable income, Canadians reported owing about $1.78 to creditors, for a collective total of more than $2 trillion.
The study suggests this debt is causing notable financial strain for more than four-in-ten people in the country.
Just 12 per cent of Canadians said they have an amount in the bank that meets or exceeds their personal goal.