BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group

January 13, 2011 09:19 ET

BMO Survey-Ontarians Confident and Optimistic This RRSP Season

- More Than Two-Thirds of Ontarians Are Confident in Their Ability to Save for Retirement

- 78 per cent Either Feel the Same or Are More Optimistic About the Financial Markets This Year Vs. Last

- Almost Half Have Either Already Made an RRSP Contribution or Plan to This Year

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 13, 2011) - According to a survey from BMO Financial Group, Ontarians share a renewed sense of optimism and confidence this Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) season. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) are confident in their ability to save for retirement and 78 per cent either feel the same or are more optimistic about the financial markets this year versus last. However, tempering this positive news is the fact that the majority (66 per cent) of Ontario RRSP holders are not fully knowledgeable of the mix of investments in their retirement portfolios.

The survey also found:

  • More than half of Ontarians (52 per cent) are confident in their financial plan.
  • Ontarians are more likely to contribute throughout the year to their RRSP (59 per cent) rather than in one lump sum (41 per cent).

With RRSP season approaching, almost half of Ontarians surveyed (47 per cent) have either already made a contribution or plan to this year, and 79 per cent are planning to contribute the same amount or more than last year. According to Statistics Canada, the median RRSP contribution last year was $2,680.

Key National Findings:

  • The vast majority (79 per cent) of Canadians either feel the same or are more optimistic about the financial markets when compared to last year.
  • Two-thirds (66 per cent) are confident in their ability to save for retirement.
  • More than two-thirds (72 per cent) of Canadians reported holding an RRSP.
  • However, a disturbing 70 per cent are not fully familiar with the mix of investments in their RRSP accounts, with only 20 per cent of women and 43 per cent of men reporting being fully familiar with what they hold.

"In general, Canadians are upbeat about the markets and their ability to save for retirement this year," said Tina Di Vito, Head, BMO Retirement Institute. "However, the survey also indicates that there is a real need for Canadians to become more familiar with what they hold within their RRSP portfolios in order to balance risk and deal with the inevitable ups and downs of the markets. People should consider a combination of investment vehicles in their RRSP, including stocks, mutual funds and guaranteed income vehicles such as GICs."

Regular RRSP contributions can go a long way to securing your retirement. Here are some tips to help you build your retirement savings faster:

  • Contribute early and contribute often – Regular contributions will add up in the long run, not only because you are adding to your savings with a set amount, but also because you reap the rewards of compounding interest.
  • Opt for a continuous savings plan – Setting up a continuous plan is an easy way to build your RRSP on a consistent basis. RRSPs make ideal investment vehicles because they allow your money to grow, tax-sheltered, until you need the money- usually in retirement.
  • Take advantage of tax benefits – The money you contribute to an RRSP is deductible from your income tax (within certain limits set by the government). For most people, contributing to an RRSP means paying less tax and can often result in a tax refund.
  • Learn about Tax-Deferred Compounding – Tax-Free Compounding means that all of your investment earnings (e.g. interest, dividends and capital gains) in your RRSP continue to grow without being taxed until the money is withdrawn. This is one of the most significant benefits of an RRSP as it allows investors to earn interest on interest. 
  • Use the free help that is available – Speak to a financial professional at any BMO Bank of Montreal branch about how to best secure your retirement or use the online tools available at to learn more about planning your retirement. 

The online survey was conducted by Harris/Decima among 1,002 Canadian adults (325 of which are located in Ontario), between November 15-24, 2010. Results were weighted using the most recent census data to ensure responses were nationally representative.

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