RRSP conundrum: Today's priorities get in the way of tomorrow's retirement, CIBC poll finds

Three in four Canadians say they are worried about saving enough for retirement; only one-third planning to contribute to an RRSP this year

TORONTO, Feb. 22, 2016 /CNW/ - With just days to go before the February 29 RRSP contribution deadline, a new poll by CIBC (TSX:CM) (NYSE: CM) finds that only 37 per cent of Canadians say they will be contributing to an RRSP for the 2015 tax year. That's despite a vast majority (75 per cent) of Canadians saying they are worried about retirement.

For those not contributing this year, competing financial demands are the primary reason with two in five (41 per cent) saying they simply don't have the money and 14 per cent saying they have other financial priorities such as paying down debt, home renovations or buying a home. This aligns with a recent CIBC poll that found that paying down debt is the top financial priority for Canadians in 2016.

"Many diligent Canadians are setting aside money for retirement but there are others who worry they aren't saving enough and those who aren't able to save at all because they are trying to stay on top of debt and manage day-to-day living costs," says Christina Kramer, Executive Vice President, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC.

"It's ironic, but for some Canadians, life is getting in the way of saving for retirement."

Highlights of the poll include:

  • 37 per cent of Canadians say they plan to contribute to an RRSP
  • 13 per cent aren't sure
  • 50 per cent of Canadians say they won't be contributing. Reasons why they're not doing so include:
    • 41 per cent don't have the money
    • 17 per cent prefer to invest in a TFSA or other investment options
    • 14 per cent have other financial priorities such as paying down debt

'Worried' Gen Xers find themselves squeezed in crucial retirement savings years

The poll found that 75 per cent of Canadians worry about saving enough for retirement, including:

  • 77 per cent of 18-34-year-olds
  • 86 per cent of 35-54-year-olds
  • 62 per cent of those 55 years and older

Canadians between 35 and 54 years - many part of Generation X - are more worried than millennials and baby boomers about saving for retirement. Although saving is a focus, with 48 per cent of Gen Xers socking away money in RRSPs, tighter budgets might be driving the worry. In this age group, of those not contributing, three in five (59 per cent) say they don't have the money.

"The conundrum for many Gen Xers is that they have reached their crucial saving years as well as their peak spending years, whether it's paying down the mortgage, supporting their kids, or helping elderly parents, and they are being pulled in competing directions," Ms. Kramer says. "Talk to an advisor if you're worried, to understand your savings options today and to look at how you can start small and build a nest egg for tomorrow."

CIBC offers advice on making retirement saving less painful

  1. What RRSP deadline? The 'deadline' isn't for everyone
    Late to the savings game this year? Remember, the Feb 29 deadline is only for applying contributions to a 2015 tax return. If you don't need to contribute for tax reasons, and you're unable to make the deadline, you can contribute anytime. The key is to get started and have a plan for making contributions.
  2. Contribute regularly
    Our poll found that 31 per cent of Canadians who plan to contribute to their RRSPs this year did so via regular savings installments. A regular investment plan - be it in an RRSP, TFSA or other investment vehicle - offers choice as to when and how often to make contributions, and is an excellent way to boost savings and ensure that investing remains a priority.
  3. Set savings goals
    If you aren't sure how much money you'll need for retirement, a good starting place is CIBC's Retirement Savings and Pension Calculator. The calculator can help you find out if your current and planned RRSP contributions, as well as any other pension income you receive, will meet your retirement income goals.
  4. Get help from an advisor
    Meet with an advisor to develop a plan to manage multiple financial priorities and understand your options.
  5. Track and manage day-to-day spending
    Take a hard look at your budget; saving for retirement may mean delaying some purchases from the present to the future. CIBC also provides helpful financial resources online through the Advice Centre. In less than five minutes, you can complete the CIBC Financial HealthCheck™ by answering a few simple questions and receive personalized advice based on your financial goals, money management tips and access to an advisor.


Percentage of Canadians who plan to contribute to an RRSP for the 2015 tax year:

  All 18-34 35-54 55+
Yes 37% 44% 48% 21%
No, I am not making an RRSP contribution for the 2015 tax year 50% 38% 39% 71%
I'm not sure yet 13% 18% 14% 8%

Primary reason why they're not contributing, among Canadians who say they are not making an RRSP contribution for the 2015 tax year:

I don't have the money 41%
I prefer to invest in a TFSA or other investment options, because of the flexibility to with draw without penalties and longer-term tax benefits 17%
I have other financial priorities (e.g. paying down debt, home renovations, buying a home) 14%
Other 21%

Proportion of Canadians not contributing, by age, who say they 'don't' have the money' is the primary reason why they are not making an RRSP contribution for the 2015 tax year:

  All 18-34 35-54 55+
I don't have the money 41% 49% 59% 27%

How worried Canadians say they are about having enough money for retirement:

  All 18-34 35-54 55+
Total worried (very + somewhat) 75% 77% 86% 62%
-     I'm very worried 26% 24% 33% 21%
-     I'm somewhat worried 49% 53% 53% 41%
I'm not at all worried 25% 23% 15% 38%

From February 9th to 10th, 2016, an online survey was conducted among 1,501 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error - which measures sampling variability - is +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units - Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Capital Markets - CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, banking centres and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.  


For further information:

Olga Petrycki, Director, External Communications, 416-306-9760 or olga.petrycki@cibc.com

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