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BMO Financial Group

January 13, 2011 09:23 ET

BMO Survey-Westerners Confident They Are Ready For Retirement

- Two-Thirds Report They Are Confident in Their Ability to Save for Retirement

- More Than 70 per cent Feel the Same or Are More Optimistic About the Financial Markets This Year Vs. Last

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

- Almost Two-Thirds of Westerners Describe Their Investment Style as "Pragmatic"

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 13, 2011) - A survey from BMO Financial Group reveals that Canadians in Alberta and British Columbia are feeling pretty good about their ability to put away money for their golden years with two-thirds (64 per cent) stating they are confident in their ability to save for retirement.

This optimism is also reflected in their view of the markets — 74 per cent feel the same or more optimistic and confident this Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) season compared to last year.

The survey also shows that, when asked what type of RRSP investor they are, Canadians in Western Canada are more likely (61 per cent) to consider themselves pragmatic, rather than aggressive or conservative.

The survey also found:

  • Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of Western Canadians are confident in their financial plans.
  • Almost half (49 per cent) of Western Canadians surveyed have either already made an RRSP contribution or plan to this year. 
  • The majority (86 per cent) have or 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 when it comes to 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 www.bmo.com/smartinvesting to learn more about planning your retirement. 

The online survey was conducted by Harris/Decima among 1,002 Canadian adults (226 of which are located in Western Canada), between November 15-24, 2010. Results were weighted using the most recent census data to ensure responses were nationally representative.

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