#1 Financial Goal for North Americans Is Saving for Retirement

January 26, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Research indicates that Canadians and Americans share many similarities despite differences in investment climate, tax regulations and social infrastructure. 

The results from the Investor Sentiment Index (ISI) surveys conducted by both Manulife Financial and John Hancock found the top financial concerns for 2012 in both markets are: decreasing investment values, ability to save for retirement and managing personal debt. As their top three financial resolutions for the New Year, both Americans and Canadians rank saving for retirement as their number one goal, followed by reducing non-mortgage debt and trimming household budgets.

The Canadian and American investors surveyed demonstrate comparable views about their future financial wellbeing. Fifty-five percent of Canadians feel they would be better off financially two years from now, with 37% saying their situation would be the same, and 8% saying they expect to be worse off financially. Fifty-three percent of Americans surveyed believe they would be in a better financial position, with 38% expecting to be in the same financial situation, and 9% expecting to be worse off.

According to the research, Canadians are nearly twice as likely to view the present as a “good” or “very good” time to be investing in a range of investment vehicles as are their American counterparts. Regarding specific investments, Canadians had a clear preference for investing in their own homes. Americans were more inclined to invest in balanced mutual funds than were their Canadian counterparts, and they had a much stronger aversion to keeping their funds in cash or cash-like investments.

When asked about using a financial adviser, 53% of American investors say they use a financial adviser versus 68% of Canadian investors.

An online survey of approximately 1,000 investors was conducted in December (U.S.) and early January (Canada). Both surveys included household decision-makers at least 25 years of age, with household income of at least $75,000 and investable assets of at least $100,000.