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TORONTO, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - Despite the impact of the recession, 62% of Canadian women define themselves as financially successful, compared to 58% in 2008. But, for women, 'financial success' is not about being able to buy designer duds and diamonds. According to TD Waterhouse's 9th Annual Female Investor Poll, Canadian women's most popular definitions of financial success are very practical: paying bills on time, being able to deal with unexpected emergencies, being debt-free and having enough money saved for a comfortable retirement. Interestingly, 'having money for the finer things in life' was selected by only 20% of survey respondents.

"Canadian women have a very pragmatic view of financial success, which is very interesting, but not surprising given the recent recession," says Patricia Lovett-Reid, Senior Vice President, TD Waterhouse. "It is unrealistic to define 'financial success' as the ability to buy diamonds when your priority is paying down the mortgage. Whether it's being concerned with the financial responsibility of raising children, to supporting aging parents, we take a very practical view of financial success."

How do Canadian women define being "wealthy"?

It takes an average of $542,000 in household investible assets to be considered "wealthy" by survey respondents, but this figure varies significantly by region and is affected by existing asset levels. For example, Alberta tops the country with $668,000 in assets required to be considered wealthy while Quebec women cited the lowest number in the country at $393,000.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the more women already have, the more they think they would need to be wealthy-this figure ranges from $345,000 among those who currently have household investible assets under $50,000, to $978,000 among those with investible assets of $300,000 or more.

"Being wealthy means very different things to different people, but what remains consistent is the need to define financial success on your terms and then figure out what you need to do to get there," says Lovett-Reid. "For many women, that might not be as hard as they think because there are many easy steps they can take towards ensuring financial success, such as automatic savings plans and monthly RRSP contributions. Those steps start with getting advice on how to create a sound financial plan that will help ensure a comfortable retirement-however that level of 'comfort' is defined by you."

Achieving financial success

To achieve financial success, Canadian women take some very disciplined steps:

<< - follow a budget to manage spending (47%) - pay off credit cards in full to avoid interest charges (45%) - participate in an employer-sponsored group pension plan (38% of employed women) - contribute regularly to an RRSP (36%) - save through an automatic saving or investing plan (24%) - contribute to a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) (21%) >>

Advice from Canadian women on how to be financially successful

Practical advice from women who consider themselves to be financially successful is consistent with those who do not, and is also consistent among both higher and lower household incomes. The top three recommendations are:

<< 1. live within your means (28%) 2. start investing as early as possible (20%) 3. keep out of debt (14%) >>

Canadian women and financial independence

Sixty-five per cent of survey respondents agree that women should be completely financially independent from their spouse, the majority (55% in total, or 84% of women who are married or in a common law relationship) share financial planning and investment decisions. Women who are not married are more likely to say they manage the household investments than women who are married (76% vs. 45%). Seventy-one percent of married women, however, do have some savings or investments in their own name. Forty-eight percent of married women who have their own personal investment portfolio are fully responsible for making decisions about their investments, while 38% make decisions jointly with their spouse or partner and 14% defer to their spouse.

Financial success - a practical approach

Canadian women are practical when it comes to financial success, defining it as:

<< - being able to deal with unexpected emergencies (67%) - paying bills on time (67%) - being debt-free (65%) - having enough money saved for a comfortable retirement (64%) - affording to buy whatever they want beyond the basic necessities (62%) - helping children or other family members (47%) - being able to buy a home rather than renting (31%) - being financially independent from partner/spouse (24%) - having money for the finer things in life (20%) >>

About the TD Waterhouse Female Investor Poll:

The ninth annual TD Waterhouse Female Investor Poll examined Canadian women's investing and financial planning behaviour. Respondents are members of TNS Canadian Facts' online panel. 1,432 interviews were conducted with women 45 to 64-years-old who have sole or shared responsibility for household financial planning or investment decisions. Interviews were conducted between September 1 to 7, 2009.

About TD Bank Financial Group:

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves approximately 17 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking through TD Banknorth and TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 5.5 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$545 billion in assets on July 31, 2009. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

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