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Quebec women and retirement: When being cautious proves risky

Lévis (Qc), February 10, 2014 – With a longer life expectancy than men, women in Quebec can look forward to more time to enjoy their retirement. However, their aversion to investment risk during their working years may hamper their retirement plans. According to a Desjardins Wealth Management survey, 61% of Quebec women with savings and investments have a conservative or moderate investor profile, compared to 46% of men, while only 7% of women savers are aggressive or dynamic investors, versus 19% of men. Paradoxically, cautious investing does not lead to the higher retirement savings that women will need and increases the risk that they will outlive their retirement savings.

This online survey of 1,594 Quebecers, conducted by research firm SOM in December 2013, reveals that 74% of female respondents have investments or savings and that two out of three intend to contribute this year to their RRSP (63%) and their TFSA (66%), like their male counterparts even though they earn less than the men. One third of the women (31%) who invest in an RRSP were reluctant to take any risks with their money. In spite of this, women hope for average yields of up to 8.1%, while Quebec's professional financial planning body, the Institut québécois de planification financière, projects conservative or moderate portfolio returns at 4.89%.

"Even though women generally have great personal finance habits and take time to plan for the future, they only reap a fraction of the benefits they could from their investments. Being cautious causes them to miss some great opportunities to get the most out of their assets. And this is really too bad because they have a wide range of financial products options to choose from," says Angela Iermieri, a financial planner with Desjardins Group.

The Desjardins Wealth Management survey also indicates that 69% of female respondents know very little or nothing about investing. It is not surprising then that 78% of the female savers said they work with an advisor to manage their investments. "For most women, the relationship they build with their advisor is key to their overall retirement plans. They need to make the most of this resource to really expand their investment options and still feel comfortable with the decisions they're making. A written financial plan is an excellent tool to move things forward," adds Ms. Iermieri.

It is worth noting that another survey conducted last September for Desjardins Wealth Management confirmed the importance of having a financial plan: 87% of Quebec women with this type of plan felt confident that they'll be financially capable of achieving their goals both during their working lives and in retirement. Currently, only 15% of women in Quebec have a written financial plan.

About the SOM survey on women's saving habits

Between December 18 and 23, 2013, SOM conducted an online survey in French and English of 1,594 adult internet users residing in Quebec. Respondents were from SOM's GOLD panel, whose members are recruited randomly by telephone. The maximum margin of error for all respondents is 2.2%, 19 times out of 20. However, this margin increases for questions involving a subgroup of respondents.

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world with assets of $210 billion. It has been rated one of Canada's top 100 employers by Mediacorp Canada. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. The group has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry. It is considered as the fourth safest and strongest bank in North America according to Global Finance magazine and Bloomberg News respectively.

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Information (for journalists only):
Francine BlackBurn
Media Relations Advisor
Desjardins Group
514-281-7000 ou 1-866-866-7000, ext. 7544

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