• The Financial Comfort Zone (FCZ) Study is a joint research initiative of Credo Consulting Inc. and Investment Executive.
  • The representation of the FCZ Questionnaire below is a static representation.  Though the way questions are actually presented to respondents cannot be effectively represented in this form, what appears below offers reasonable perspective on the questions being asked.
  • The BLOCK LETTERS that appear at the start of each question below are called variable names.  These enable the researchers to quickly identify and refer to the questions that are being analyzed.


Hugh Murphy

Managing Director

Credo Consulting Inc.



Brandon Bertelsen

Research Director

Credo Consulting Inc.




The FCZ Questionnaire


A bit about you

GENDER. Are you…?

  • Male
  • Female


AGE. What is your age?


PROVINCE. In which province do you live?

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon
  • I do not live in Canada


POSTAL. Please enter your postal code


RESPONSIBLE. Which of the following best describes your situation?

  • I’m responsible for financial matters in my household
  • I share responsibility for financial matters in my household
  • I’m not responsible nor do I share responsibility for financial matters in my household


PRODUCTS. Which of the following financial products do you use or have within your portfolio? (Select all that apply)

  • Chequing Account
  • Savings Account
  • RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)
  • RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan)
  • RIFF (Registered Retirement Income Fund)
  • TFSA (Tax-free Savings Account)
  • Credit Cards
  • Line of Credit
  • Mortgage
  • Insurance
  • GICs (Guaranteed Investment Certificates)
  • Mutual Funds
  • Segregated Funds
  • Stocks
  • Bonds (from a government)
  • Bonds (from a corporation)
  • ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds)
  • Hedge Funds
  • Real Estate (Excluding your principal home)
  • Private Equity
  • PPNs (Principal Protected Notes)
  • Other (Please specify)
  • None of the above



INSDETAIL. You indicated that you have insurance. Please indicate which of the following kinds of insurance you have. (Select all that apply)

  • Auto Insurance
  • Home Insurance
  • Term Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Critical Illness
  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Other (Please specify)


INVESTCYLCE. Which of the following statements would you say best describes your current position in the overall savings/investment cycle?

  • Accumulation phase: you are saving and investing for your retirement years
  • Transition phase: you will fully retire sometime within the next 10 years. You may already be partially retired or have left your primary career for something leading up to full retirement.
  • Retirement phase: you are fully retired
  • None: you are not saving for retirement yet


RETIREPRODS. Which of the following types of financial products/investments do you have?

  • Defined benefit (DB) pension plan, where a formula based on years of service determines your guaranteed monthly payout in retirement
  • Defined contribution (DC) pension plan, where the retirement payout is not guaranteed and depends on the performance of your investment choices
  • Group RRSP through your workplace
  • Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Personal RRSPs
  • Employee share purchase plan or Share Accumulation Plan
  • Other personal investments
  • None of the above


RETIRERISK. In general, how would you describe your own risk tolerance when it comes to your investments?

  • Conservative
  • Moderate
  • Aggressive


RETIREPRODRISK. How would you describe the overall risk profile for the each of the following types of your investments?


  • Conservative
  • Moderate
  • Aggressive



  • Your DC Pension or Group RRSP
  • Personal investments outside your DC or Group RRSP


RETIRERISKVERB. What is the main reason you have different risk profiles for your workplace DC/Group RRSP investments and your personal investments?

INSAWARE. Which of the following insurance providers are you aware of?


  • Aware
  • Using
  • Never heard of


  • BMO Insurance
  • Canada Life
  • Empire Life
  • Equitable Life
  • Foresters
  • Great West Life
  • Industrial Alliance
  • London Life
  • Manulife
  • RBC Insurance
  • SSQ
  • Standard Life
  • Sun Life


MFAWARE. Which of the following mutual fund manufacturers are you aware of?


  • Aware
  • Using
  • Never heard of


  • AGF Investments
  • Invesco Trimark
  • BMO Mutual Funds
  • Bridgehouse/Brandes
  • CI Investments
  • Standard Life Mutual Funds
  • Desjardins Financial
  • Dynamic Mutual Funds
  • Northwest Ethical Investments
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Franklin Templeton Investments
  • Sun Life Global Investments
  • IA Clarington
  • Mackenzie Financial
  • Manulife Investments
  • National Bank Investments
  • Phillips, Hager & North
  • RBC Mutual Funds
  • Renaissance Investments
  • Scotia Mutual Funds
  • Sentry Investments
  • TD Mutual Funds
  • Sprott Asset Management
  • Mawer
  • Russell Investments
  • EdgePoint
  • Aston Hill
  • Canoe Financial

ETFAWARE. Which of the following ETF manufacturers are you aware of?


  • Aware
  • Using
  • Never heard of


  • iShares
  • BMO ETFs
  • Horizons ETFs
  • Powershares
  • Vanguard
  • First Asset
  • RBC ETFs
  • Purpose Investments
  • First Trust Portfolios Canada
  • QuestTrade Smart ETFs
  • Auspice
  • Lysander Funds
  • Caldwell Investment Management
  • TD ETFs

Primary Financial Institution

PRIMARYFIN. Which of the following is your primary financial institution? If you primary financial institution is not in the list, please specify.

  • CIBC
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Bank of Nova Scotia
  • TD
  • National Bank
  • Desjardins
  • Laurentian
  • PC Financial
  • Manulife Bank
  • Tangerine
  • A Credit Union
  • Other (Please specify) [OE CHA]

Do You Receive Financial Advice

HASADVISOR. Which of the following describes your situation? (Please select all that apply)

  • I receive guidance from one or more financial professionals
  • I receive guidance from one or more online financial advice services
  • I receive financial advice from a friend or family member who is not a financial professional
  • I manage my own finances without the guidance of others [Exclusive]


How Many Professionals

NUMADVISORS. How many financial professionals provide you with guidance or advice? Please enter a whole number.


Principal Advice Provider

PROFTYPE. There are many different types of financial professionals. What title would you use to describe your primary financial advice provider (i.e., what title do they use to refer to themselves)?


ADVTENURE. How long have you been working with your advisor?


PROFRELATION. Is your principal financial professional a friend or family member?

  • Friend
  • Family Member
  • Neither


ADVGENDER. Is your principal financial professional…?

  • Male
  • Female
  • Not a person (e.g., Online advice service)


ADVCOMPANY. With what company is your principal financial professional associated?


ADVTIME. How many years have you been working with your principal financial professional?


Your Financial Professional and Convenience

ADVMEET. Which of the following best describes how you meet with your principal financial professional? (Select all that apply)

  • l  We meet online/interactive
  • l  We meet at their location of choice
  • l  We meet where it’s most convenient for me
  • We never meet


ADVFEETALK. When was the last time your financial professional spoke with you about the fees they charge?

  • In the last month
  • 2-3 months ago
  • 4-6 months ago
  • 6 months to a year ago
  • More than a year ago
  • Never


How Does Your Financial Professional Charge for Their Services

ADVPAY. How does your financial professional charge you for their services? (Select all that apply)

  • A set amount that you arrange with your financial professional
  • An hourly rate
  • A percentage of the money they manage for you
  • A fee each time they trade or purchase a financial instrument for you
  • They are paid each time you buy a new financial instrument
  • A small, continual stream of money that they are paid by an investment management firm whose investment products you purchase
  • My financial professional does not charge me for their services
  • Other (Please specify)



  • Yes
  • No
  • Uncertain


[IF Yes or NO to “My financial professional does not charge me…” in ADVPAY, ask ADVPAYCONFIRM, otherwise skip to instruction before ADVVALUE]

ADVPAYCONFIRM. Please confirm your response by selecting one of the following

My advisor charges me for their services
My advisor does not charge me for their services


Perceived Value of Advice

ADVVALUE. Which statement represents how you feel about what your advisor charges?

  • Their advice is worth its weight in gold. It’s great value.
  • I feel that I’m getting good value for my dollar.
  • I feel I’m getting only fair value for money.
  • I question why I’m paying.



ADVISORNPS. On a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 is extremely unlikely and 10 is extremely likely, how likely would you be to recommend your financial professional to friends, family or colleagues?

FA_STATEMENTS. Please read the following statements and provide your rating on the scale provided:

  • I am comfortable discussing concerns and questions with my financial advisor
  • I trust my financial advisor completely
  • I am very satisfied with the level of communication I have with my financial advisor
  • I know exactly how much I have paid my investment advisor in the past 12 months
  • I frequently conduct my own research to validate my financial advisor’s recommendations
  • I am considering finding a new financial advisor
  • My advisor keeps me aware of their events, services and ongoing work
  • The value my advisor delivers is very clear to me
  • The guidance my advisor offers fit with my goals
  • My advisor is always accessible when I need them
  • My advisor is consistent in how they work with me
  • My advisor is of the highest quality
  • My advisor provides me with a sense of comfort
  • My advisor is completely credible


[Response: 0 Strongly Disagree – 10 Strongly Agree]


Personality Traits

PERSONALITY. Please place a check on each word you feel describes your principal financial professional. You may check as few or as many words as you like. If none of the words describe your financial professional, select “None of these fit”

  • Trustworthy
  • Professional
  • Dependable
  • Accessible
  • Responsive
  • Honest
  • Creative
  • Knowledgeable
  • Communicative
  • Consistent
  • Timely
  • Intimidating
  • Overbearing
  • Controlling
  • Supportive
  • Aggressive
  • Intelligent
  • Sensible
  • Efficient
  • Easy-going
  • Innovative
  • Outgoing
  • Friendly
  • Analytical
  • Confident
  • None of these fit

ADVCHANGE. Have you ever changed your primary financial advisor?

  • Yes
  • No


ADVCHANGEWHY. Why did you change your primary financial advisor?


No Advisor? Why Not?

NOADV. You indicated that you do not receive advice from a financial professional.  Which of the following best explains why you do not use a financial professional’s services? (Select all that apply.)

  • They cost too much
  • I don’t have enough money to need a financial professional
  • I’ve had a bad experience in the past
  • My finances aren’t important enough to me
  • I know enough to do it all myself
  • I get enough good guidance from a friend
  • I get enough good guidance from a family member
  • I’ve never met one before OR I don’t know one
  • I don’t trust people who call themselves financial advisors
  • I don’t trust financial professionals
  • Other (specify)
  • Don’t know


READSTATE. Which of the following most accurately describes how you deal with financial statements?

  • I read them in great detail
  • I read them, but not in detail
  • Sometimes I read them, sometimes I don’t
  • I don’t read them


Financial Literacy

This includes a proprietary battery of test questions


Importance of Various Financial Matters

FINIMPORT. How important to you is each of the following as a financial matter?


  • Education
  • Credit Cards
  • A house
  • A vacation
  • A vacation property
  • Retirement
  • Investments
  • Elder care
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Child care
  • A vehicle
  • Taxes
  • Charitable giving
  • A renovation project
  • A wedding
  • Budgeting
  • Another large purchase


FINIMPOR_ALP. In the previous question, you mentioned that there was another large purchase that was very important, could you describe it?


Personal Fulfillment and Life Balance

WHEELV2. Below is a list of important aspects of a person’s life — in this case, your life.  Each area will seem to have a different level of importance to you but each will actually contribute to your personal fulfillment, satisfaction and wellbeing in some respect.


Consider each of these aspects of your life.  Then move the slider to a point on the scale that indicates your current state of fulfillment, satisfaction and wellbeing.


About our Scale:

  • Moving the slider to “100” indicates an absolutely ideal, harmonious state; that there is simply no way things could be any better for you in this area of your life.
  • Leaving the slider near “0” indicates a terrible, stressful state; that you are completely dissatisfied with this aspect of your life — it could not possibly be any worse.



  • Intellectual Engagement – Consider your life-long learning, professional development and other activities that bolster cognitive abilities, knowledge and understanding
  • Purposeful Pursuits – Consider your paid or volunteer work; the things you do that that give you a sense of depth, contribution, or meaning.
  • Leisure and Recreation – Consider the things you do for personal enjoyment that enrich or reenergize the mind, body and spirit.
  • Health and Physical Fitness – Consider your medical health, fitness level and nutritional well-being
  • Close relationships – Consider the state of personal relationships you have with those that are most important to you in your life
  • Community and Social Relationships – Consider your community outside those who are closest to you; consider neighbours, acquaintances and other social activities you take part in.
  • Home and Location – Consider the place you live and the place you work; the environments where you actually spend all of your time.
  • Inner Growth – Consider your feelings about your emotional well-being and spirituality
  • Financial Well-being – Consider your feelings about your overall financial position; your current status and your financial outlook


Comfort Zone Statements

Please read the statements and specify your level of agreement using the scale provided:

  • I have a good understanding of the financial matters I need to address at this stage of my life.
  • I have the knowledge I need to build my own financial security.
  • Personal financial matters are of no interest to me.
  • I make investments only when I’m guaranteed not to lose my money.
  • I am attracted by ideas to capitalize on short-term investment opportunities.
  • I feel a sense of defeat when I think about my finances.
  • I am well-protected against the potential for financial disaster.
  • If I were to lose half of my income, I could still manage.
  • If I were to miss two months of pay, I would experience serious financial problems.
  • My financial records are well organized.
  • I have too much debt.
  • I feel comfortable speaking with financial professionals about my finances.
  • I feel comfortable speaking with family about my finances.
  • I regularly make purchases spontaneously, without considering my budget.
  • Financial matters cause tension in relationships that are important to me.
  • I regularly check my progress towards meeting financial goals.
  • I maximize my tax-advantaged investment opportunities. (e.g., RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs)
  • The priorities I have in life guide the way I manage my money.
  • I find financial jargon and terminology confusing or intimidating.
  • I am confident in my ability to evaluate the quality of financial advice I receive.
  • I have spent a lot of my money trying to find happiness.
  • I don’t spend enough time with the people I love.
  • I feel my life revolves too much around making money.
  • Too much of my net worth is tied into property.
  • I’m afraid I might out-live my finances.
  • I should give more to charity.
  • I take financial risks
  • I like taking financial risks
  • I avoid financial risks
  • I have made plans for those who will be left behind when I pass away


Ahead or Behind

FINEXPECT. Which Fits Best for You?

At this point in my life…

  • I am far behind where I expected to be financially.
  • I am behind where I expected to be financially.
  • I am about where I expected to be financially.
  • I am ahead of where I expected to be financially.
  • I am well ahead of where I expected to be financially.


FINEXPECTOTHERS. Which best describes you?

At this point in my life…

  • I am far behind other Canadians financially.
  • I am behind other Canadians financially.
  • I am about where other Canadians are financially.
  • I am ahead of other Canadians financially.
  • I am well ahead of other Canadians financially.



DEBTLOAD. If you were to sum your personal debts, excluding mortgages, what would the sum be, in dollars? Please enter your best estimate

DEBTAVAIL. Thinking about your debts overall, what proportion of your available credit are you currently using?



Estate Planning

ESTATE_INTRO. In the following section, we will ask a number of questions about estate planning. Please read the description below if you are unfamiliar with the topic.

Estate planning is the collection of preparation tasks that serve to manage an individual’s belongings (money, investments, property) in the event of their incapacitation or death, including giving their of assets to the people or organizations that will inherit them and the settlement of estate taxes. Examples are:

  • Making or having a will
  • Planning for your death
  • A tax plan for your estate
  • Identifying the people or organizations that will receive your things after you die

ESTATE_AGEWILL. By what age do you feel you should have an estate plan ready?



ESTATE_AGETALK. At what age do you feel it’s appropriate for a financial advisor to begin discussing estate planning with you?



ESTATE_HAVEWILL. Do you have a current will?

  • Yes
  • In-progress
  • No


ESTATE_PLAN. Do you have a plan for your estate after your death or incapacitation?

  • Yes
  • In-progress
  • No


ESTATE_TALKADVISOR. Has your financial advisor spoken to you about estate planning?

  • In the last year
  • In the last 5 years
  • Never


ESTATE_PLANHELP. Did anyone help you with your estate plan? (select all that apply)

  • I did it myself [No other selections]
  • My financial advisor
  • A lawyer
  • Other (Please specify)


ESTATE_PROFHELP. What type of professional would you seek assistance from if you were interested in creating an estate plan?

[Record Verbatim]


Just a few more


NEWCANADIAN. How many years have you lived in Canada? (You may use a decimal in your response, such as 1.5 years) [OE NUM WITH DECIMAL POINT ALLOWED  range 1-99 with 1 decimal point]

[Record Years, to one decimal point]

All my life

ETHNICITY. Which of these best describes your origin? (Please select all that apply)



[Display in 2 coloumns]

  • First Nations
  • North American (Canadian, American, etc)
  • British Isles origin (English, Scottish, etc)
  • Eastern European (Ukranian, Polish, etc)
  • Western European (French, German, etc)
  • Northern European (Danish, Finnish, etc)
  • Caribbean (Cuban, Jamaican, etc)
  • Latin, Central, or South American (Brazilian, Mexican, etc)
  • Central or West African (Congolese, Nigerian, etc)
  • North African (Egyptian, Tunisian, etc)
  • South or Eastern African (Somalian, South African, etc)
  • Middle Eastern (Arab, Iranian, etc)
  • South Asian (Tamil, Pakistani, etc)
  • East or Southeast Asian (Chinese, Filipino, etc)
  • None of the above/Prefer not to answer [EXCLUSIVE]


[Ref: http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/ref/dict/a1-2-eng.cfm]

STATUS. Which of these characterizes your marital status?

[SC, Responses]

  • Single
  • Married
  • Common law
  • Widowed
  • Divorced or separated


KIDS. Which of these best characterizes your household?

[SC, Responses]

  • I (we) do not have children
  • One or more child lives at home
  • One or more child lives at home, while one or more has moved out
  • All children have moved out


RENTOWN. Which of these statements characterizes your situation?

[SC, Responses]

  • I RENT or LEASE the dwelling where I reside
  • I OWN the dwelling where I reside
  • I live with relatives


EMPLOYMENT. Which of these best characterize your employment situation?

[SC, Responses]

  • Employed full-time
  • Employed part-time
  • Unemployed
  • Not seeking employment
  • Retired


STUDENTS. Are you currently…

  • A full-time student
  • A part-time student
  • Neither


[Ask if EMPLOYMENT=Employed full-time, or employed part-time]

HEALTHBENEFITS. Do you have a health benefits package through your work?

Not sure

[Ask if EMPLOYMENT=Employed full-time, or employed part-time]

OCCUPATION. Which of the following best describes the sector you work in?

[SC, Responses]

  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
  • Construction
  • Educational Services
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Information and Cultural Industries
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Manufacturing excluding Food
  • Food Manufacturing
  • Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
  • Retail Trade
  • Transportation and Warehousing
  • Utilities
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Public Administration
  • Other Services (except Public Administration)
  • None of the above


EDUCATION. What is the highest level of education you have completed to date?

[SC, Responses]

  • 12th grade or less
  • Graduated high school or equivalent
  • Some college (diploma not complete)
  • College diploma completed
  • Some university (degree not complete)
  • University degree completed
  • Some post-graduate university (not complete)
  • Post-graduate degree completed


POLITICAL2. In the most recent election, which of the following parties did you vote for?

[SC, Responses]

  • NDP
  • Liberal
  • Conservative
  • Green
  • Bloc Québécois
  • Other
  • None


POLITICAL3. If an election were held today, which of the following political parties would you vote for?

  • NDP
  • Liberal
  • Conservative
  • Green
  • Bloc Québécois
  • Other
  • None


HHEARNERS. How many individuals are currently earning an income that contributes to your household?

HHI. Which of the following best describes your household income?

  • Less than $15,000
  • $15,000 – $20,000
  • $20,000 – $25,000
  • $25,000 – $30,000
  • $30,000 – $35,000
  • $35,000 – $40,000
  • $40,000 – $45,000
  • $45,000 – $50,000
  • $50,000 – $55,000
  • $55,000 – $60,000
  • $60,000 – $65,000
  • $65,000 – $70,000
  • $70,000 – $75,000
  • $75,000 – $80,000
  • $80,000 – $85,000
  • $85,000 – $90,000
  • $90,000 – $95,000
  • $95,000 – $100,000
  • $100,000 – $150,000
  • $150,000 – $200,000
  • $200,000 or more
  • Prefer not to say


INVASSETS. Which of the following best describes your investable assets?

  • Less than $5000
  • $5000 – $20,000
  • $20,000 – $50,000
  • $50,000 – $100,000
  • $100,000 – $250,000
  • $250,000 – $500,000
  • $500,000 – $1,000,000
  • Greater than $1,000,000
  • Prefer not to say


Thank You!