Canadians want to save for retirement, but likely won't, says CIBC poll

28% say they plan on setting aside money in both an RRSP and a TFSA; 19% say they will just contribute to an RRSP and 13% say they will only use a TFSA.

TORONTO – A majority of Canadian respondents to a recent poll say they plan on putting money away for retirement this year, but the likelihood of that actually happening is considered slim.

The study, released Monday by CIBC (TSX:CM), found that 60 per cent of those polled say they want to contribute to their RRSP, tax-free savings account or both, in 2013.

Twenty-eight per cent say they plan on setting aside money in both accounts; 19 per cent say they will just contribute to an RRSP and 13 per cent say they will only use a TFSA.

“While it’s positive that so many eligible Canadians plan to contribute towards their retirement this year, we know from previous years that only 26 per cent of eligible tax filers actually make a contribution to their RRSP,” said Jamie Golombek, a managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC.

He said that the ability to save sometimes comes down to budgeting.

“If you don’t have the money to make a contribution to your retirement savings, the solution may come from having a hard look at your budget. Saving for retirement is really about delaying some consumption from the present to the future,” said Golombek in a statement.

The poll also found that 31 per cent of those surveyed say they aren’t planning on putting away retirements savings at all this year, a jump from 28 per cent in 2012.

The top reason last year among those polled who didn’t make any contributions was that they didn’t think they could afford it.

Golombek suggests setting up automatic withdrawals on your bank accounts to make it easier to save for retirement.

“Making smaller, regular contributions throughout the year is much easier than making one large lump-sum contribution to your RRSP,” he said. “If you set up your regular savings plan so that a portion of each pay cheque automatically goes to an RRSP account or your TFSA then you can’t spend it.”

Those polled in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta (65 per cent) were the most likely to say they intended to put away savings in their RRSP or TFSA this year, while only 53 per cent of those polled in Quebec said they would.

Those aged between 25 to 34 years old were also the most likely (71 per cent) to say they planned on making retirement contributions, while those aged 65 and over were the least likely (45 per cent).

The telephone poll, conducted by Harris/Decima, surveyed 1,740 Canadians between the ages of 18 to 72 between Dec. 13, 2012 and Jan. 7, 2013. It is considered accurate with 2.35 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.