Financial experts are warning young adults they will face a difficult retirement if they don't start saving money early.   

A report out this week from CIBC said the average 35-year-old is saving less than half of what their parents did at the same age.

The authors of the CIBC report also predict that, unless they build up their savings, young adults face at least a 20 per cent drop in their standard of living once they retire.

Scott Gerlitz, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Calgary, said parents can have the biggest influence in getting the message across to their Generation Y children.

"One of the questions I often ask is ‘who were the major influences in your life when it comes to how you save and how you think about money?’.

"In most cases it was either the parents or the grandparents. If we can see the folks who have had really good habits in the past, they're almost always attributing it to them," he said.  

But it’s hard to get young adults to consider long-term planning when they've grown up in the internet age with instant access to all the goods and services they want, Gerlitz said.  

And fewer people will be able to count on a company pension in the coming decades.  

According to the CIBC report, only 30 per cent of Canadians have a registered pension plan — a seven per cent drop from 20 years ago.

The report also notes that defined benefit pension plans are becoming less and less common as employers switch to defined contribution plans instead.