BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

March 01, 2012 06:00 ET

BMO Annual Post-RRSP Deadline Study: Despite Market Volatility, Almost 40 Per Cent of Canadians Made a Contribution This Year

- 38 per cent contributed to an RRSP before Feb. 29th deadline

- Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba led the way with 42 per cent participation

- Canadians contributed an average of $4,670

- Men more likely than women to have contributed

- Mutual funds were top RRSP investment choice this season, followed by GICs

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 1, 2012) - Today BMO Financial Group released the findings of its Third Annual Post-RRSP Deadline Study which found that, despite ongoing volatility in the financial markets, 38 per cent of Canadians contributed or planned to contribute to their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) before the February 29th deadline. The participation rate remained essentially unchanged from the previous two years (39 per cent last year; 38 per cent two years ago).

Additionally, the BMO study found that Canadians have contributed an average of $4,670 to their RRSPs this year - compared to $4,538 last year.

"It's very encouraging that, despite the instability we've seen in the markets over the last several months, almost 40 per cent of Canadians made saving for retirement a priority by making a contribution to their RRSP this year," said Tina Di Vito, Head of the BMO Retirement Institute. "Regardless of how the markets are doing, it's critical for Canadians to take ownership of their retirement and save through vehicles such as RRSPs and TFSAs on an ongoing basis."

Other key findings from the study:

  • Men were more likely to have contributed to an RRSP than women this year (41 per cent versus 34 per cent)
  • Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba had the highest proportion of those who contributed to an RRSP in the country (42 per cent)
  • British Columbians contributed the highest average amount in the country ($6,703)
  • Mutual funds were the investment of choice this RRSP season with 59 per cent investing in them, followed by GICs (25 per cent), equities (22 per cent), bonds (12 per cent) and ETFs (6 per cent)

What Prevented More Canadians From Making an RRSP Contribution?

Of those who did not make a contribution this year, 61 per cent cited a lack of funds as the reason. This was followed by:

  • Already having enough money for retirement (14 per cent)
  • Lack of confidence in the economy (9 per cent)
  • Did not think it was important to make a contribution (4 per cent)

"Many Canadians are financially stretched and saving for retirement often gets pushed down on the list of financial priorities," commented Ms. Di Vito. "However, saving for retirement doesn't have to happen all at once. The key is to make regular contributions to your RRSP, regardless of the amount. You'll be surprised how quickly your nest egg will grow over time."

BMO's Tina Di Vito offers tips on how to find those extra dollars for your RRSP:

  • Out of sight; out of mind - Setting up automatic bi-weekly payments from your banking account to your RRSP can be an easy way to generate savings.
  • Skip the latte - Filling up your cup at the office instead of buying from the local coffee shop can result in an extra $80 a month.
  • Brown bag it - Bringing a lunch from home every day can save upwards of $100 per month.
  • Cancel costly memberships - Cancelling memberships you are not using, such as a fitness or golf club membership, can clear up space in your expense column and add to your nest egg.
  • Mortgage free? - If you have finished paying off your mortgage, put the monthly payments towards an RRSP.

For more information on planning for retirement, please visit

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The survey was completed online from February 21, 2012 to February 23, 2012, using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1,500 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ± 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $538 billion as at January 31, 2012, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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