Sep 5, 2017
Pattie Lovett-Reid: Wealth takes more than a Google search
Chief Financial Commentator, CTV
Canadians care about savings – just not all the time.
It appears we are seasonal when it comes to our quest for more information on what to do with our money. According to ratehub.ca’s 2016 Digital Money Trends Report, 87 per cent of Canadians are saving a portion of their income with retirement, an emergency fund, and a down payment coming in as the top three savings goals.
Ratehub.ca analyzed key Google world searches over the past five years, which included RRSP, TFSA, RSP vs. TFSA, GIC, chequing, and savings.
It turns out we tend to be reactive, seasonal and last-minute. Savings keywords peak at the end of the month as people tend to review their monthly spending activity and plan for the upcoming month. Not surprisingly, the last two weeks of February have shown a volume spike as the RRSP deadline nears, while September typically sees the lowest searches for RPSPs.
The popularity of the TFSA just isn't where it should be. The age and level of awareness around the RRSP vs. TFSA is evident when examining searches. The word RRSP has 180 per cent more search volume than the word TFSA. TFSA search volume spiked in conjunction with the 2015 limit increase to $10,000, then dropped again shortly thereafter.
GIC-related researches have increased 13 per cent over the last five years, and chequing-related keywords saw a 150 per cent increase in search volumes compared to five years ago. Digital access to data, rates and the opportunity to comparison shop has given so much more choice to the consumer.
The fact that people are looking for additional financial information is encouraging, but in my opinion, not enough. We can search all we want, but investigation without action doesn't help us to get ahead financially.
I have found those who dedicate time and energy on an ongoing basis are the ones with the discipline to get a financial education that grows over time along with their wealth. In fact, one of my favourite books, “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas Stanley, highlights millionaires spend eight hours per month, on average, managing their finances. They aren't seasonally checking out their options.
Many dream of becoming a millionaire or financially secure, but achieving that goal will not come from the occasional word search via Google.
Financially literacy is hard work and an ongoing process. We owe it to ourselves the make the commitment to take charge now.