HIGHLIGHTS: LEARNING & KEY EVENTS
event within the past 2 years, while the older Canadians had a 5- year span consistent with the wider age range of those interviews.
The Investor Education Fund contracted The Brondesbury Group to investigate how people learn about financial matters at different stages in their adult life. This brief report summarizes the findings of two waves of research, one focused on 20-34 year olds and the other on Canadians age 35 and older. Each wave of research began with qualitative work to get in-depth information about online learning and general self-learning practices. We then moved to a broader internet-based survey to further investigate and quantify findings on key issues identified in the qualitative work.
It is important to recognize that the quantitative surveys were done online. Every respondent had to be an active internet user. Among 20-49 year olds, this only excludes 5-6% of the total population. This increases to 15% in the 50-64 age group and 45% for age 65+. It is also important to know that all of the research (except students) required a minimum of $15,000 personal income or $25,000 family income to be eligible for participation. In very rough terms, this is the bottom 20% of the income distribution.
The research discussed here is based on some 1600 people. Two hundred people from Ontario participated in the qualitative research. This included nine online focus groups (87 people), three face-to-face focus groups (28 people) and 84 one-on-one interviews with randomly selected people intercepted in shopping malls and coffee shops in London (ON) and Toronto. The 1400 people in the online panel surveys were drawn from across Canada with the number from each province proportional to the number of Canadians in the target age group in each province.
HOW COMMON ARE KEY LIFE EVENTS
Among 20-34 year olds, nearly half have not experienced any of the key life events within the past two years. More than half of those who experienced one event, also experienced a second event. If we used a 5-year time span as we did with older Canadians, it is likely that nearly everyone would experience these events.
% Experienced Key Event Past 2 years: Age 20-34
The online panel surveys were built around key life events. Previous research for the Investor Education Fund and others has shown that key life events are the times when people are most receptive to learning about financial matters. Among 20-34 year olds we focused on four life events with 200 people per event: attending college or university, getting a new job, getting married and having children. The life events that shaped the work with the older Canadians often stemmed from their own decisions and include: Having a retirement plan, Setting a retirement date (in the next five years), and Retiring. The 20-34 year old had to experience their life