Paradise at the end of your days: A review of the retirement planning tools offered by financial institutions


Alexandre Plourde


Option consommateurs




Despite the importance of preparing for retirement, Canadians do not have all the knowledge they need to understand such a complex subject. To obtain information, they mostly turn to financial institutions, which provide them with tools such as brochures, websites or online videos.

Option consommateurs’ (OC) analysis of a sample of these retirement planning tools, conducted with the aid of experts, brought us to the conclusion that they are most often written in general terms designed to lead consumers to begin thinking about the topic. They all suggest that the consumer should make an appointment with a representative of their financial institution, yet give little information on how to identify a competent professional.

In semi-structured interviews, Canadian consumers said that although the tools provided by financial institutions give them the opportunity to begin tackling a complex subject, they need personalized advice to help them reach a financial decision. Despite a certain wariness, several said they trusted the information given out by the financial institutions, some even declaring that they had followed their recommendations, or at least intended to do so.

Finally, the tools OC analyzed raise the issue of a conflict of interest between the purported educational role of these tools and their role in the institution’s sales strategy.

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OCA Funded Research
This research received funding support through the Office of Consumer Affairs' Contributions Program.

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Source: Consumer Policy Research Database

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