Majority of Canadians want to invest more, but say they can't afford it: poll

TORONTO – A majority of respondents to a new poll about retirement savings feel they haven’t invested enough but say they just don’t have the extra money to put away.

The annual survey by Scotiabank found that 64 per cent of those polled cited affordability as an obstacle for them to invest in their RRSPs by the March 1 contribution deadline.

That figure is up this year from 59 per cent in 2011 and 53 per cent in 2010.

The poll also found that 81 per cent say they haven’t invested enough, compared with 76 per cent in 2011 and 71 per cent a year earlier.

Only 17 per cent of those polled say they don’t have any investments at all, compared to 21 per cent last year.

Mike Henry, Scotiabank’s senior vice-president and head of retail payments, deposits and lending, urges people who are serious about investing to come up with a financial plan.

“Within the framework of a good financial plan, even small contributions can have a big impact over time and get people to the place they want to be financially,” he said in a release.

The survey also found that 39 per cent say they wish they had invested at an earlier age, with 23 per cent agreeing that in retrospect, they would’ve spent less and contributed more to their investments.

Of those who do have retirement investments, 51 per cent started setting aside money before they turned 30 years old.

The poll also found that savings accounts or mutual funds (64 per cent) were still the most popular vehicle for putting away money, followed by RRSPs (56 per cent) and tax-free savings accounts (44 per cent).

The poll was conducted online using a Harris/Decima propriety panel that surveyed 1,003 people from a random sample of adults aged 18 and over from across Canada.

The survey was conducted from Nov. 28 to Dec. 13, 2012.