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Canadians optimistic about future

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Staff writer |
CanadaDespite the continued market recovery, Canadian investors remain wary and continue to take a conservative approach to investment and savings as evidenced by a one-point dip (to +21) in the latest Manulife Financial Investor Sentiment Index.

Nowhere is investor skepticism more apparent than in Quebec where the Index sits at +8, only three points higher than pre-economic crisis levels in 2008 (+5).

Twice annually, the Investor Sentiment Index survey measures Canadian investors' views on a range of asset classes and savings and investment vehicles - as well as their confidence in these areas. It also asks Canadians a broad range of additional questions about topics including financial priorities and retirement.

"It is quite surprising to see that Quebecers recorded the lowest numbers across the entire investment and savings product spectrum. We really haven't seen any reason to suggest this kind of pessimism," said Guy Couture, Regional Vice-President, Retail Markets.

"Quebecers don't believe it's a good time to put money into investment or savings products, nor do they find it a good time to be keeping cash, so maybe there are some well-padded mattresses in Quebec."

In fact, Quebec residents ranked whether it was a good time to invest in every investment and savings product - including stocks, real estate, your own home, cash, balanced mutual funds, fixed income products, TFSAs, RRSPs and Mutual Funds - substantially lower than Canadians in all other provinces.

Only 43 percent of Quebec investors said it was a good or very good time to invest in your own home - the most popular investment choice across Canada - compared to 66 percent in Alberta and 65 percent in Atlantic Canada, the provinces where it ranked highest.

Additionally, while Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) ranked highest as a savings vehicle across Canada - 71 percent of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents ranked it most popular - only 45 percent of Quebec residents said it was a good or very good time to save using a TFSA.

"In comparison to other provinces, Quebec leads the way with more than half of residents reporting that they are on track with their financial goals (53 percent). Another six percent report that they are currently ahead of their financial goals, which is second only to Alberta at eight percent. This is good news," added Mr. Couture.

Alberta residents provided the highest Investor Sentiment Index scores with sentiment there reaching +30. However, while Alberta residents were also the most likely to say they are ahead of plan on their financial goals (eight percent), one in four Albertans (25 percent) also said that they are in a worse financial position than two years ago. Albertans were also most likely to say that they will be in a worse financial position two years from now (10 percent).

Overall, Canadians are optimistic about their financial futures with nearly half of residents in every province reporting that they will be in a better financial position two years from now.

Ontario residents are less likely to feel on track with their current financial goals - 37 percent compared with Quebec leading at 53 percent followed by Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 47 percent.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents were most likely to say that they are in a better financial position than they were two years ago (49 percent), compared with Atlantic Canada with 39 percent and Ontario and Quebec with 35 percent.

BC residents (23 percent) were most likely to say that they are behind on their financial goals and are unlikely to catch up.

Atlantic Canadians were most likely to say that it is a good time to invest in stocks (31 percent) and segregated funds (28 percent).

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