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34% of Canadians plan to retire by winning the lottery

Stretches the definition of “plan”

A new poll out today, commissioned by BMO, found that a third of Canadians—an average of 34% of those polled across the country—say they are planning to fund their retirement by winning the lottery.

To be clear: that is an absolutely insane plan. Although Chris Buttigieg, the Senior Manager of Wealth Planning Strategy for the bank quoted in the press release, is too polite to say so outright:

“To those hoping to win the lottery to fund their retirement, the odds of actually winning are approximately 1 in 14 million. A much better bet would be to develop a personal retirement savings and investing plan and to start contributing as early and as often as possible to your RRSP,” concluded Mr. Buttigieg.

While 34% is the average across Canada, some provinces display more…optimism in this respect than others. British Columbia has the highest proportion of dreamers, while stoic prairie residents were least likely to report the lottery playing an important role in their retirement planning. (Regardless, any percentage above, say, 0.0002% is utterly divorced from mathematical facts, so no province’s residents can claim to be clear-eyed realists.)

Chart showing percentage of Canadians hoping to win the lottery to fund their retirement, by province

The remainder of the income sources Canadians say they are going to rely on to fund their golden years doesn’t quite inspire confidence either. Nearly 90% say they are counting on the Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan to keep them going, which is a dubious prospect:

“Given the amount that the CPP or QPP pays out, Canadians should not rely on them as a primary source of income to fund their retirement,” said [Buttigieg)]. “Rather, they should consider the CPP and QPP to be a supplementary component of their overall retirement income solution and focus on creating their very own ‘personal pension plan’ by contributing to an RRSP on a regular basis.”

Chart showing which sources of retirement income Canadians say they will rely on

This is not a chart that inspires confidence. Obviously the Bank of Montreal is keen to point out that it offers an array of retirement-planning products that can help divert you from a retirement spent desperately scratching Keno tickets in between shifts at the 7-Eleven. There’s also the Canadian Business Retire Wealthy guide, which can provide you with some practical tips on sustainably funding a retirement.