Amid pandemic crisis, Canadians are having more tough what-if talks

by Leo Almazora25 Jun 2021

Couples and families may find some financial-planning conversations more difficult than others, particularly if they involve envisioning the worst. But according to a new survey from RBC Insurance, Canadians appear to be getting better at it.

Compared to before the pandemic, participants in the survey said that they’re talking more often with their partner or family about potentially uncomfortable topics, including their children’s future (56%); concerns about their finances, financial goals, and debt (38%); and the family’s ability to get by financially without them (28%).

“Having these conversations can be stressful, but it's important to be as open as possible with the people close to you about all aspects of your lives together,” Maria Winslow, senior director, Life & Living Benefits at RBC Insurance, said in a statement. “This is an important first step to finding solutions or mitigating potential financial issues in the future.”

Aside from initializing conversations, most Canadians seem to be realizing the importance of proactively getting protection. Nearly two thirds (63%) said they believe insurance coverage is a way to take control over an unpredictable situation. Around the same proportion (65%) said they have life insurance, leaving an estimated one third (35%) without coverage.

"If we've learned anything throughout this past year, it's that life can bring unexpected events and risks, so it's important that Canadians also take action to protect themselves and their families," Winslow said.

The need to take the bull by the financial horns is becoming clear to many Canadians who need reassurance that their family will be protected when they’re gone. Around a quarter (26%) said they weren’t confident that their family would be able to bear the costs of housing, mortgage payments, and rent if they were to pass away.

Demographically, respondents between 35 and 54 were the least confident in their family’s ability to pay for housing costs (32%), necessities that include food and clothing (22%); or child care expenses (33%).

And despite an apparent rise in thinking about life insurance coverage – 28% of all respondents said they’ve been evaluating their insurance coverage over the past year – many still don’t understand the different types of life insurance policies available to them. That points to the critical role of having an insurance advisor who can demystify things, particularly with respect to getting the right information, assessing whether insurance coverage is necessary, and determining what insurance coverage might work best.

"While Canadians are showing themselves to be more open to having difficult conversations with those close to them, we hope they will also now have similar dialogues with an insurance advisor," Winslow said.