OSC Study Identifies Ways to Make Retirement Planning Easier

For Immediate Release OSC

TORONTO – The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) today published OSC Staff Notice 11-783, Encouraging Retirement Planning through Behavioural Insights, which identifies ways in which organizations can apply behavioural insights to promote retirement planning.

The research report, prepared by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) in collaboration with the OSC, looks at the primary challenges people experience in moving from the intention to create a retirement plan to actually having one, and offers simple, low-cost interventions to make retirement planning easier.

“When it comes to preparing for retirement, even seemingly small roadblocks can have a paralyzing effect,” said Tyler Fleming, Director of the Investor Office at the OSC. “Our study identifies evidence-based approaches that organizations can use to address these barriers and encourage retirement planning.”

Common barriers identified in the report include the perceived length and complexity of retirement planning, as well as a tendency to ignore the future, be overly optimistic about savings, and discount long-term needs. Some interventions to counter these barriers include breaking retirement planning into a series of small steps, nudging people at moments when they are likely to be thinking about the future (such as birthdays), highlighting short-term psychological benefits of having a plan in place (such as the opportunity to build financial confidence and security) and prompting individuals to think about the friends and family they will be able to spend more time with in retirement.

The research findings and recommendations were developed based on a literature review, and qualitative research with pre-retirement Ontarians and financial planners. Several of the approaches recommended in the report were also tested using an experiment involving a randomized control trial.

Conducted over a three-week period in early June in partnership with the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada, the experiment involved sending different messages to more than 70,000 Ontario public service employees encouraging them to use an online retirement income calculator.

This study is one of the initiatives outlined in the OSC’s Seniors Strategy, published in March 2018. The research is also part of the OSC’s ongoing efforts to integrate behavioural insights into its work and develop evidence-based policy and programs.

The research findings are available online at InvestorOffice.ca.

BIT is a social purpose company part-owned by the UK Government. Initially formed as the UK Government’s “nudge unit,” BIT was the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural sciences.

The mandate of the OSC is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in the capital markets, and to contribute to the stability of the financial system and the reduction of systemic risk.  Investors are urged to check the registration of any persons or company offering an investment opportunity and to review the OSC investor materials available at www.osc.ca.



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