Debt Unifies Investors Across the Generations

When it comes to investing, men and women definitely approach it differently


TORONTO, Nov. 27, 2015 /CNW/ – A recent Nielsen investor survey commissioned by AGF Investments Inc. found that across generations, only 18% of respondents rank investing to save for retirement as their number one priority and, the average Canadian spends about the same amount of time researching an airline ticket as they do researching their mutual fund purchase.

Debt unites Canadians across every generation. The survey found that 31% of Canadian investors reported paying off current financial obligations as their number one priority.

The Great Divide

“With the theme The Great Divide, the purpose of this survey was to understand how Canadian investors differ, focusing on generations, gender and those with a financial advisor versus those without,” said Blake C. Goldring, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at AGF Management Limited. “We wanted to find out what is top of mind when it comes to investing and what we can do to help Canadian investors reach their investment goals.”

A breakdown of the top three priorities shows that across all generations, Canadians are focused on a variety of other short-term goals.

  • Golden (Aged 65 + years): 69% are focused on living the good life now
  • Baby Boomers (Aged 50 – 64 years): 46% are saving for a major planned expenditure/rainy day
  • Generation X (Aged 35 – 49 years): 34% are focused on paying/saving for their children’s education

Millennials (Aged 18 – 34 years) have more conflicting priorities for their limited funds than any other generation. When it comes to their top three priorities, 43% are saving to own a condo or a house, 21% are paying/saving for their children’s education and 15% are taking care of elderly parents.

“These findings confirm that Canadians are juggling multiple priorities. They are overwhelmed and in many cases don’t know where to start when it comes to planning for the long term,” said Goldring. “This is where AGF can help. I believe it’s the responsibility of financial firms and the investment management industry to educate and inform investors.”

Gender Divide

The survey also found that there is a widening perceived knowledge gap when it comes to financial literacy among men and women. While men are more likely to say they’re very or extremely knowledgeable about investing, women are more likely to say they’re somewhat or not at all knowledgeable.

They are overwhelmed and in many cases don't know where to start when it comes to planning for the long term

Men and women also showed marked differences in the age they start investing, where they turn for advice and their current focus.

  • On average, men start investing at 28 years old, while women wait until 31 years old
  • Before choosing an investment, men are more likely to read websites/blogs/posts online, while women look to trusted sources such as parents/grandparents and their financial advisor
  • Men are focused on funding their retirement goals, while women are focused on current living expenses and paying off short-term debt

Advice Divide

The survey found that Canadian investors appreciate advice and are willing to pay for it, but a number still feel they need at least $25,000 in savings to make it worthwhile to engage the services of a professional financial advisor.

The survey found that of the Canadian investors who are considered ‘DIY’:

  • Close to half have never met with or worked with a financial advisor
  • 1-in-5 say they do not currently work with a financial advisor due to insufficient funds for investing
  • 1-in-5 would consider using a financial advisor when they have enough money saved up or when they feel like they are no longer successfully investing on their own
  • Are 3x more likely to have been disappointed or lost faith in their investments in the past

“Whether you are a millennial, just starting out or a senior citizen worried about unexpected health care costs, everyone needs a plan. The key to developing a plan and staying on a realistic path is working with a financial advisor regardless of your age or income,” added Goldring.




About AGF Management Website –
AGF Management Limited is one of Canada’s premier independent investment management firms with offices across Canada and subsidiaries around the world. AGF’s products include a diversified family of mutual funds, mutual fund wrap programs and pooled funds. AGF also manages assets on behalf of institutional investors including pension plans, foundations and endowments as well as for private clients. With approximately $34 billion in total assets under management, AGF serves more than one million investors. AGF trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol AGF.B. More information and details are available at