Awareness of Tax Free Savings Accounts Very High: Survey



    Middle and Higher Income Households Most Likely to Take Advantage

    TORONTO, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - According to a survey by TNS Canadian Facts, the
introduction of the new Tax Free Savings Accounts or TFSAs has been a hit with
many Canadians. Awareness is very high and 14 per cent of Canadians have
already contributed to a TFSA, with many more intending to take advantage of
the new accounts.
    The survey found that 79 per cent of Canadians are aware of TFSAs, and
this is only somewhat behind awareness of the longer running RRSP (94%) and
RESP (84%) accounts. There is also little reported confusion between TFSAs and
RRSPs. Only 27 per cent say that they do not understand the difference between
the two.
    "The combination of advertising by government and financial institutions
has translated into a high awareness of the new investment vehicle and good
initial uptake," said Rhonda Grunier, vice-president of TNS Canadian Facts and
director of the market research firm's TFSA study.
    Already 14 per cent of Canadians have opened a TFSA and another 36 per
cent are either very likely (18%) or somewhat likely to do so (18%) in 2009.
This leaves 48 per cent who are not likely to open an account this year.
    Although the adoption rate for the new accounts is quite high, it is also
true that lower income households are less likely to open an account (28% of
Canadians with a household income below $35,000 have opened or plan to open a
TFSA versus half of all Canadians). In fact, among the most frequently cited
reasons for not opening a TFSA is a lack of financial resources (41%). Young
people 18 to 24, women and those living in Quebec or Atlantic Canada are least
likely to have already opened or to plan to open a TFSA.
    Some Canadians question the wisdom of introducing TFSAs during the
current economic downturn. Almost half (47%) agree that the government should
be encouraging people to spend money to stimulate the economy rather than
encouraging them to save money. One-third (35%) also believe that the new
accounts will contribute to the government's projected budget deficit by
diverting tax revenue from government coffers.
    Despite these concerns, most Canadians consider TFSAs to be a suitable
vehicle for a range of investment needs. Seven in ten agree that they should
be used as a source of short-term emergency funds (70%). A similar proportion
(68%) say that they ought to be used as a retirement savings vehicle. Finally,
six in ten (61%) agree that TFSAs should be used as a means of saving for
medium term goals, such as buying a car or house, making home improvements or
taking a family vacation.
    Of the 63 per cent of Canadians with an RRSP, seven in ten have already
contributed or plan to contribute to their RRSP by the March 2nd deadline.
Looking at all Canadians' intentions for RRSP and TFSA contributions this
year, only one-third (34%) say that they are not going to contribute to either
one, 19 per cent intend to invest only in a TFSA, 17 per cent say they will
invest only in an RRSP, and 30 per cent plan to invest in both.
    "The versatility of the TFSA is a definite strength of the new accounts.
The fact that TFSAs help Canadians meet a variety of needs and investment
goals is undoubtedly contributing to the high level of interest in this new
account," added Grunier.
    The Tax Free Savings Account Study was conducted using the firm's
national bi-weekly telephone omnibus service, TNS Express Telephone. A total
of 1,016 nationally representative Canadian adults were interviewed between
February 2 and 5, 2009. For a survey sample this size, the margin of sampling
error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
    TNS Canadian Facts (www.tns-cf.com) is one of Canada's most prestigious
full-service marketing, opinion and social research organizations.

    About TNS

    TNS is a global market information and insight group.
    Its strategic goal is to be recognized as the global leader in delivering
value-added information and insights that help its clients make more effective
business decisions.
    TNS delivers innovative thinking and excellent service across a network
of 80 countries. Working in partnership with clients, TNS provides
high-quality information, analysis and insight that improve understanding of
consumer behaviour.
    TNS is the world's leading provider of customized services, combining
sector knowledge with expertise in the areas of Product Development &
Innovation, Brand & Communications, Stakeholder Management, Retail & Shopper.
TNS is a major supplier of consumer panel, media intelligence and audience
measurement services.

    
    TNS is the sixth sense of business(TM).

    www.tnsglobal.com
    

    The Kantar Group

    The Kantar Group is one of the world's largest research, insight and
consultancy networks. By uniting the diverse talents of more than 20
specialist companies - including the recently-acquired TNS - the group aims to
become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and actionable insights for the
global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 80 countries and
across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling
the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the
consumer cycle. The group's services are employed by over half of the Fortune
Top 500 companies. The Kantar Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WPP Group
plc. For further information, please visit www.kantargrouptns.com





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Rhonda Grunier, Vice President,
Tel: (416) 924-5751 x339, e-mail: rhonda.grunier@tns-global.com; David Stark,
Vice President, Public Affairs, Tel: (416) 924-5751 x238, e-mail:
david.stark@tns-global.com

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