Retirement the New Number One Savings Goal for Canadians

January 9, 2006 ( - Canadians chose saving for retirement over 'keeping their heads above water' as their primary financial concern in Royal Bank's most recent survey.

This year, 38% cited saving for retirement as their biggest concern, the Canadian Press reports. Keeping their heads above water came in second at 27%, while general saving for a rainy day drew in 25% of votes.

Dave Richardson, vice-president of RBC Asset Management, attributed the change in attitude to an aging Canadian population. He also stated in a release that economic conditions, such as lower interest rates and greater borrowing flexibility, are helping Canadians concentrate on retirement savings, according to the CP.

The groups most likely to choose saving for retirement as a top priority were those who currently don’t have debts (44%), those that have a sophisticated understanding of their personal investments (42%), and those who own a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) (46%).

The survey also found that those over age 35 were likely to put retirement savings at the top of their financial priority list (42%) than those in the 18 to 34 age rage (23%).

As for how they’re doing in saving for retirement, the average planned retirement savings contribution for the 2005 tax year was $5,700, an increase of $140 over 2004 and nearly double the amount contributed in 1993. The average market value of RRSPs is $61,656.

Sixty-six percent of Canadians have an RRSP, and 32% of survey respondents said they plan to contribute their maximum allowable.

The Ipsos Reid/RBC poll was conducted from November 11 to 21, involving a randomly selected sample of 1,250 adult Canadians interviewed by telephone.