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BMO Bank of Montreal

December 06, 2012 06:00 ET

BMO's Annual RRSP Study: Increasing Number of Canadians Buying Into RRSPs

- Two-thirds of Canadians say they have an RRSP, up six per cent from 2011

- Three-quarters of those surveyed plan to contribute the same amount or more compared to last year

- Average amount contributed in 2011 was $4,670

- Majority either seldom or never max out their contribution in a given year

- Total unused RRSP contribution amount to exceed $1 trillion by 2018

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 6, 2012) - BMO Financial Group today announced the results of its third annual national Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) study, which shows an increasing number of Canadians are taking the important step of investing in RRSPs to help support themselves in their retirement. However, the study also found that most Canadians are not maxing out their annual contribution.

According to the study:

  • Sixty-seven per cent of Canadians have an RRSP, up six per cent from 2011.
  • Of those who do not have an RRSP, half (49 per cent) say they intend to open one within the next five years.
  • Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of Canadians expect to contribute the same amount or more to their RRSP than they did last year.
  • The majority of Canadians with an RRSP (74 per cent) has already made or plans to make a contribution towards an RRSP before the 2012 deadline; last year at the same time, 69 per cent of Canadians planned to make or had made a contribution.
  • Last year's average contribution amount was $4,670.

However, the study also found that many Canadians are worried about the health of their RRSPs given the volatility that has characterized financial markets over the last two years; 68 per cent report that they are concerned about the performance of their retirement savings.

"It's encouraging that a growing number of Canadians understand the important role an RRSP can play in preparing for retirement," said Marlena Pospiech, Senior Manager, BMO Wealth Planning Group, BMO Financial Group. "But it's sobering that so many are worried about the performance of their investments within their RRSP. During times of market volatility, it's critical that Canadians have a financial plan that includes a retirement component and that they review their investments regularly and seek out the assistance of a financial professional if needed."

Ms. Pospiech added that it is also important that people choose investments that match their current age, life stage and risk tolerance. For example, BMO SelectClass® Portfolios* come in four portfolios options designed to align with different risk profiles, so whether an investor is conservative, bold or somewhere in between, there is a portfolio tailored to them. This type of portfolio design can give investors confidence that they are on track to achieving their long-term goals- such as being financially prepared for retirement.

Are Canadians Maxing Out Their RRSPs?

The study also examined Canadians' awareness around RRSP contribution limits; the results showed that only one-third are aware of their annual contribution limit while more than 60 per cent either rarely or never contribute the maximum amount to which they are entitled. Only 13 per cent report that they hit the maximum each and every year. As of 2011, the total unused RRSP contribution amount stood at about $500 billion; the figure is estimated to exceed $1 trillion by 2018.

Regional Breakdown- BMO's Third Annual RRSP Study

Total ATL QC ON MB/SK AB BC
Percentage who have an RRSP
2012 67 64 73 65 65 69 65
2011 61 48 61 63 70 66 51
Percentage who are planning on making a contribution to their RRSP
2012 74 79 66 80 61 78 67
2011 68 63 64 73 71 68 68

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

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The survey results cited in this release are from online interviews with a random sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older, conducted between November 23rd and November 27th, 2012. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

*BMO SelectClass Portfolios are offered by BMO Investments Inc., a financial services firm and separate legal entity from Bank of Montreal. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus of the mutual fund before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

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