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BMO Financial Group

March 04, 2014 06:02 ET

BMO Fifth Annual Post-RRSP Deadline Study: Two-Thirds of Canadians Contributed This Year; Average Amount Was $3,518

- Forty-nine per cent invested in mutual funds within their RRSP, 35 per cent chose GICs

- More than half think they contributed as much as they could, two-thirds wish they had been able to contribute more

- Of those expecting a tax refund from their RRSP contribution, 36 per cent plan to save or invest the money and 26 per cent plan to pay down debt

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 4, 2014) - BMO Financial Group today issued its Fifth Annual Post-RRSP Deadline Study, which surveyed Canadians on their RRSP contribution habits, including how many contributed to their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) before the deadline and how much money they contributed for the 2013 tax year.

According to the study, two-thirds of Canadians (65 per cent) made a contribution to their RRSP before the midnight deadline yesterday. This is a slight increase over last year, when 63 per cent of Canadians made a contribution.

The BMO study also found that Canadians contributed an average of $3,518 to their RRSPs this year, down slightly from an average of $3,544 last year. When looking at where those dollars went, the study found the top investment choices for Canadians included:

  • Mutual funds (49 per cent)
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates (35 per cent)
  • Bonds (18 per cent)
  • Stocks (17 per cent)
  • Exchange Traded Funds (12 per cent).

"The RRSP program has been around since the 1950s and still remains one of the most tax efficient and effective ways to save for retirement. It's a good sign that the number of Canadians contributing to their RRSP has remained steady since last year," said Chris Buttigieg, Senior Manager, Wealth Planning Strategy, BMO Financial Group. "Although it may seem like a big commitment, Canadians should know that contributing to an RRSP doesn't necessarily take a lot of time or money. The key is to plan ahead and put aside an amount that you're comfortable with, even if it's a modest sum. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your retirement nest egg will grow over time."

Were Canadians Happy With Their Contribution Amount?

When asked about the amount of money Canadians contributed to their RRSPs, the study found that two-thirds wish they had been able to contribute more this year. Other key findings included:

  • More than half (54 per cent) think they contributed as much as they could.
  • Almost half (49 per cent) are confident the amount they contributed leaves them on track to realize their ideal retirement lifestyle.
  • More than one-third (35 per cent) say they could have contributed more but did not.

"It's encouraging that more than half of Canadians feel that they contributed as much as they could this year," noted Mr. Buttigieg. "However, it's unfortunate that so many wished they could've contributed more. Establishing and sticking to a financial plan, which includes a budget, is a great way to achieve financial goals and earmark funds for retirement savings."

RRSP Tax Refund Intentions

The study also revealed that, of those who anticipate receiving money back from the Canada Revenue Agency after making an RRSP contribution, the majority of Canadians plan on saving or investing the money (36 per cent) or using it to pay down non-mortgage debt (26 per cent). Other intentions for RRSP tax refunds include:

  • Pay down mortgage (18 per cent)
  • Travel or purchase leisure items (16 per cent)
  • Home renovations/household expenses (10 per cent)

Regional Breakdown:

Region % who made an RRSP contribution (2013 tax year vs. 2012 tax year) Average $ amount contributed (2013 tax year vs. 2012 tax year) % who wish they had been able to contribute more % who think they contributed as much as they could % who plan to save or invest tax refund
National 65/63 3,518/3,544 66 54 36
Atlantic 62/65 2,785/3,955 65 51 33
Quebec 63/53 3,444/3,049 58 48 33
Ontario 68/69 3,811/3,592 71 59 36
Prairies 60/64 4,338/3,811 65 54 37
Alberta 67/61 3,270/4,462 73 57 49
B.C. 61/62 2,926/3,173 61 55 35

For more information on planning for retirement, please visit www.bmo.com/retirement.

Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia.

The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 1,007 Canadians from February 21 to February 25, 2014. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

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