University costs delay parents’ retirement: survey

Looking ahead, parents expect the negative impact to increase

Costs for post-secondary education are taking a toll on parents’ finances.

A survey conducted for FP Canada found that 67% of Canadians with children over age 18 have helped their children with post-secondary costs, and doing so prevented one in five parents from paying off debt (20%) and forced 16% to postpone retirement.

Looking ahead, the challenges of post-secondary education costs could affect more Canadians to a greater extent.

The survey found that 82% of Canadians with children under 18 intend to assist their children with post-secondary costs, and nearly half (48%) expect providing this support will cause them to delay retirement — an increase from 41% in FP Canada’s 2017 survey.

Similarly, many respondents (42%) said they expect education costs will prevent them from paying off debt, up from 40% in 2017.

Education costs could be exacerbated at tax time: only one-third of respondents said they’re familiar with tax credits, grants and other financial assistance programs associated with post-secondary costs.

Students are also challenge by education costs, with almost one-third of parents (31%) saying their children graduated or will graduate from college or university with more than $10,000 in student debt.

For those students, the debt results in postponed life milestones. One in five Canadians with adult children (19%) say student debt has caused their children to postpone buying a home; 10%, to postpone moving out.

Adult children in Atlantic Canada are most likely to have postponed buying a home (25%), and those in Ontario are most likely to have postponed flying the coop (15%).

Canadians with children under 18 forecast that student debt will have an even bigger impact going forward: more than half say they expect student debt will force their kids to postpone buying a home (51%), and four in 10 say they expect their kids to postpone moving out.

For more details, read the student debt survey.

About the survey: The online survey of 1,557 Canadians was completed April 26-29, 2019, using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error is +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.