Great Canadian TFSA Test shows Canadians continue to be confused

Some progress made in understanding since 2009 but more education is needed from advisors

TORONTO, June 17, 2015 /CNW/ - After five years there is still a large learning curve for Canadians when it comes to Tax Free Savings Accounts. A recent Mackenzie Investments Great Canadian TFSA Test conducted by Leger shows that Canadians are still not familiar with the basic elements of the program, with the risk that they are not maximizing the opportunity to build wealth.

Of five questions asked on the test, 51 per cent of Canadians answered three or more correctly. That is only slightly better than the results from the 2009 survey that showed 44 per cent of Canadians answered three or more correctly.

"There is so much discussion surrounding TFSA's but when it comes to understanding them, Canadians are still bewildered," said Carol Bezaire, Vice President Tax and Estate and Strategic Philanthropy for Mackenzie Investments. "In five years Canadians still have misunderstandings about the basics of the program. For example, many people don't realize you can hold TFSA's outside of banks and the accounts can hold a broad range of investment options such as stocks, mutual funds and bonds."

How Canadians scored on The Mackenzie Investments Great Canadian TFSA Test:

The 2015 Mackenzie survey of 1,558 Canadians asked the following five True or False questions. The correct answers, and the percentage of those who answered correctly, are shown in brackets. The percentage from the 2010 survey is shown in underline.

1.

Like an RRSP, contributions to a TFSA are tax-deductible. (False, 53% correct; 2009: 43% correct)

2.

The TFSA contribution limit is $10,000 per year, if you don't contribute the full $10,000 in a year, the remaining contribution room is lost. (False, 49% correct; 2009: 36% correct)

3.

TFSA contribution room does not depend on earned income. Regardless of income level, all Canadians age 18 or older will receive $10,000 of contribution room each year. (True, 55% correct; 2009: 63% correct)

4.

A broad range of investment options are available within a TFSA including stocks, bonds and mutual funds. (True, 46% correct; 2009: 41% correct)

5.

An individual can own multiple TFSAs. (True, 39% correct; 2009: 22% correct)

Unlike in 2009 where those aged 18-24 scored the worst on the test, the 2015 results revealed that younger people aren't falling any more behind in their understanding of TFSAs than the rest of the country.

Along with the test, Mackenzie Investments asked general questions about Canadian attitudes towards the TFSA. Among those who do not have a TFSA, 64 per cent say it's because they do not have money to invest, followed by 26 per cent who say they don't know enough about TFSAs.

"Canadians aren't motivated to know all the details of the TFSA program, that's where the help of a financial advisor can be invaluable to ensuring people are truly maximizing the opportunity to invest and grow their savings," Bezaire said.  "Financial advisors help explain how TFSAs work and also provide strategies to maximize investments."

The 2015 survey results are based on a Leger national online survey with a representative sample of 1,558 Canadians (18 years and older). A sample of this size will provide results that can be considered accurate for the population overall to within plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The survey was conducted between May 19 and 22, 2015.

The 2009 survey results are based on a Leger Marketing national online survey with a representative sample of 1,506 Canadians (18 years and older) and was conducted between December 21 and December 23, 2009.

About Mackenzie Investments
Mackenzie Investments was founded in 1967, and is a leading investment management firm providing investment advisory and related services. With $74.6 billion in assets under management as at May 31, 2015, Mackenzie Investments distributes its investment services through multiple distribution channels to both retail and institutional investors. Mackenzie Investments is a member of the IGM Financial Inc. (TSX: IGM) group of companies. IGM Financial is one of Canada's premier financial services companies with over $148 billion in total assets under management as at May 31, 2015. For more information, visit mackenzieinvestments.com.

SOURCE Mackenzie Investments

For further information: Trish Tervit, Director, Communications and Media Relations, Mackenzie Investments, 416-967-2166, ttervit@mackenzieinvestments.com

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