CIBC Poll: Nearly 60 per cent of Canadians plan to make a contribution towards their retirement in 2012

Historically the number of eligible Canadians that actually invest is much lower

TORONTO, Jan. 31, 2012 /CNW/ - A CIBC (CM:TSX) (CM: NYSE) poll conducted by Harris/Decima shows nearly 60 per cent of Canadians plan to invest in their retirement in 2012, indicating that this may be the year Canadians get their retirement plans on track.

Key findings of the poll include:

  • In total, 58 per cent of Canadians will make some form of contribution, involving RRSPs, TFSAs, or both. Of these:
    • 24 per cent will contribute to both their RRSP and TFSA this year
    • 19 per cent will contribute to just their RRSP
    • 15 per cent will contribute to just their TFSA
  • Another 26 per cent say they won't make a contribution to their retirement fund this year
  • 17 per cent say they are undecided as to whether they will contribute

"It is encouraging news that many Canadians are planning to make a contribution to their retirement fund this year. In the past two years almost 93 per cent of tax filers were eligible to contribute to an RRSP but only 26 per cent of them actually made a contribution," said Jamie Golombek, Managing Director, Tax & Estate Planning, CIBC.

TFSAs have also begun to get the attention of Canadians as a retirement savings option, with 39 per cent of Canadians planning to invest in a TFSA this year. Among those who said they would be contributing only to a TFSA this year, those between 18-24 (19 per cent) and those 65 and over (36 per cent) were among the most likely to choose a TFSA over an RRSP.

"This research indicates that an increasing number of Canadians are planning to make use of one or both of the two key retirement vehicles available to help maximize long term savings," added Mr. Golombek. "It would be ideal to contribute to both as some Canadians in our poll indicated, however many people will need to choose based on their financial situation.

Mr. Golombek noted that with more Canadians planning to invest in their retirement this year it is important that they take the time to get advice on which option is best for them. An RRSP allows Canadians to defer tax on any contributions until those funds are withdrawn, and offers an immediate benefit in the form of reduced income tax payable this year. A TFSA doesn't provide an immediate benefit on your tax return, but allows any funds invested to grow tax-free, with no tax payable on amounts withdrawn from the plan.

As a general rule of thumb, he recommends saving for retirement in a TFSA when you're in a lower income bracket since the tax deduction associated with an RRSP contribution is often less than the higher marginal effective tax rate on the RRSP or subsequent RRIF withdrawal. With a TFSA, no taxes whatsoever are paid upon withdrawal.

The poll also shows that 26 per cent of Canadians across all ages said they would not be contributing to either plan this year.  The number one reason cited by those not contributing in 2012 was a shortage of funds to make the contribution, with approximately one-quarter of non-contributors, saying they don't have the money on hand.

"Making a lump sum contribution can sometimes be challenging, particularly following the holiday season, which is why it is much easier to set up a regular savings plan that puts a more manageable amount away each month during the entire year," added Mr. Golombek. "A regular savings plan helps you avoid the crunch of having to make a large, one-time contribution before the RRSP contribution deadline."

"The number one message for Canadians when it comes to retirement planning is to understand the options you have, and to take action early in the year whether you are capitalizing on the increased contribution room in a TFSA or making your RRSP contribution before the deadline of February 29, 2012," added Mr. Golombek.


Percentage of Canadians who plan to contribute to either an RRSP, TFSA, or both in 2012, by region:

National Average          57%
Atlantic Canada          49%
Quebec           55%
Ontario           56%
Manitoba/Saskatchewan         52%
Alberta            65%
British Columbia          63%

Percentage breakdown of how Canadians will contribute, by region:

  Both RSP Only TFSA Only
National 24% 19% 15%
Atlantic Canada 16% 17% 16%
Quebec 15% 25% 14%
Ontario 28% 18% 10%
Manitoba/Saskatchewan 19% 17% 16%
Alberta 34% 14% 16%
British Columbia 26% 13% 25%

Percentage of Canadians who plan to contribute to either an RRSP, TFSA, or both in 2012, by age:

National Average          57%
18-24            44%
25-34            65%
35-44            63%
45-54            58%
55-64            55%
65+            50%

Percentage breakdown of how Canadians will contribute, by age:

  Both RSP Only TFSA Only
National 24% 19% 15%
18-24 19% 6% 19%
25-34 34% 23% 8%
35-44 27% 26% 10%
45-54 29% 22% 8%
55-64 16% 18% 21%
65+ 4% 9% 36%

Results are based on a CIBC poll conducted by Harris/Decima, via teleVox, which surveyed 855 Canadians between ages 18 and 72 (the age at which RRSPs must be converted to a Registered Retirement Income Fund).  The associated margin of error is +/-3.35%, 19 times out of 20. Polling was conducted between December 8 to 12, 2011.

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada, and has offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Press Centre on our corporate website at



For further information:

Kevin Dove, Head of External Communications, 416-980-8835,

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