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Half of Canadians struggling to save: RBC poll

Juggling personal expenses and managing debt cited as key obstacles

TORONTO, October 13, 2010 — Many Canadians are having difficulty meeting their savings goals with 38 per cent indicating they are unable to save, either because they have nothing left over after paying bills (30 per cent) or because they are impulse spenders (eight per cent), according to the RBC Savings poll.

More than half of Canadians find it difficult to achieve their savings goals (57 per cent), be disciplined in their savings habits (55 per cent) or find it daunting to set up a program to ‘pay yourself first’ (51 per cent).

With more than a quarter reducing the amount they are saving (27 per cent) and a further one-in-five (19 per cent) indicating they have stopped saving altogether over the past two years, only a small minority (12 per cent) of Canadians have managed to increase their savings.

“Our clients tell us that one of the main challenges to saving is paying yourself first – being able to put aside money before it gets spent,” said Maria Contreras, product manager, Savings Accounts at RBC. “We advise our clients to start slowly by setting aside small amounts. Starting by setting up a separate, dedicated savings account and an automatic saving program with a small amount each week from your paycheque can go a long way in helping you reach your savings goals.”

When it comes to savings habits, approximately one-third (33 per cent) of Canadians diligently save by making regular contributions to a savings account, while a slightly smaller proportion (29 per cent) only save from time to time.

The most common reasons cited for saving money are to create an emergency fund (47 per cent), followed by vacation/travel (35 per cent), but priorities vary by age group. The RBC poll found that young adults aged 18 to 24 favour travel (47 per cent) as a reason to save, followed by saving for home purchase/renovation (36 per cent) or a car (26 per cent). Saving for a home purchase/renovation is equally high among those aged 25 to 34 (36 per cent).

“You can’t make wise saving decisions without taking a good, hard look at your budget – specifically, how much you earn versus how much you spend,” added Contreras. “Once you’ve tracked your monthly budget, it is important to thoroughly examine your spending habits in order to make informed decisions and to reach your savings goals.”

To support Canadians in achieving their savings goals, RBC offers a variety of budgeting tools including:

  • the Spend-o-meter tool – determines where exactly your money is being spent.
  • the Emergency fund calculator tool – establishes how much money you should consider for an emergency fund.
  • the Easy budget tool – examines your income and how much money you have left after necessary expenditures.
  • the myFinance Tracker tool – creates a set budget and tracks your spending habits.

For more resources to help Canadians start saving and achieve their savings goals, visit www.rbc.com/savingsspot.

The savings survey was administered as part of Express Online, TNS national online omnibus survey. Fieldwork was conducted between August 12 and 16, 2010. In total, 1,121 completions were achieved.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada’s largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. We employ approximately 78,000 full- and part-time employees who serve close to 18 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 51 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.

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For more information, please contact:
Suzanne Willers,
RBC Corporate Communications, (416) 974-2727

Kathy Bevan, RBC, (416) 974-1757