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Re-balancing Act: Canadians try to pay for today and save for tomorrow despite low interest rates and volatile markets – RBC

  • Majority of Canadians worry about balancing short-term over long-term savings
  • Saving for long-term tops debt repayment
  • Almost one-third haven’t yet started retirement savings
  • Half don’t have a financial plan
  • TFSAs top RRSPs as preferred savings plan

TORONTO, January 27, 2016 - Faced with low interest rates, a low-value loonie and volatile markets, Canadians are making saving for the long-term – including retirement – their No. 1 financial priority (54 per cent) for the third year in a row, according to the RBC Financial Independence in Retirement Poll. Saving for a rainy day ranked second at 46 per cent, with regular payments to reduce or eliminate debt ranked third at 42 per cent.

This trio of financial priorities matches the concern expressed by a majority (75 per cent) of Canadians: how to balance saving for today versus putting away money for tomorrow. Two of the age groups most concerned about finding this balance: those aged 18-29 (86 per cent) and 40-49 (79 per cent). These two age groups also are the most likely not to have a financial plan (61 per cent and 59 per cent respectively), compared to the Canadian average (51 per cent).

“Our consumer research tells us there’s a direct link between having a financial plan and feeling more comfortable about your future – a plan can be a big stress-reliever at any age and helps you focus on what’s truly important to you,” explained Richa Hingorani, senior manager, financial planning support, RBC.

“This is a great way to make your dreams a reality,” Hingorani added. “By exploring your short-term and your long-term goals with a financial planner, you can set up those goals, check each one off as you reach it, celebrate your achievement and move on to your next goal.”

Hingorani describes a good financial plan as a written report that:

  • Addresses your personal goals, needs and priorities
  • Covers your current situation
  • Includes financial planning areas that are relevant to you – such as taxes, investments, cash flow, retirement, borrowing and debt management
  • Evaluates the strategies that will help meet your goals
  • Lists action steps – what needs to be done, by whom and when
  • Acts as a guidepost to track your progress

Other findings from this year’s poll:

  • If Canadians could only contribute to one option, 46 per cent selected TFSAs and 28 per cent selected RRSPs (compared to 43 per cent and 32 per cent respectively in 2015).
  • 55 per cent of Canadians own RRSPs (unchanged from 2015).
  • 38 per cent of RRSP owners have made or intend to make contributions (37 per cent in 2015).
  • 31 per cent have not started saving for retirement (30 per cent in 2015).
  • Of those saving for retirement, 50 per cent use automatic savings plans and 39 per cent save “whenever I can” (compared to 44 per cent and – unchanged – 39 per cent in 2015).










Short-term vs. long-term savings concern 75% 73% 75% 69% 74% 79% 72%
Saving for long-term/ retirement 54% 55% 62% 62% 55% 50% 48%
Saving for rainy day 46% 44% 46% 45% 47% 46% 43%
Saving to reduce or eliminate debt 42% 39% 44% 43% 43% 39% 53%
No financial plan 51% 54% 52% 46% 49% 53% 56%
Haven’t started saving for retirement 31% 35% 28% 23% 32% 28% 35%
i) TFSAs vs.
ii) RRSPs

(if only one choice)
Own an RRSP 55% 50% 57% 62% 53% 59% 49%

About the 2016 RBC Financial Independence in Retirement Poll
These are some of the findings of the 26th Annual RBC RRSP Poll conducted by Ipsos from November 11 to 19, 2015 on behalf of RBC Financial Planning, through a national survey of 2,217 Canadians ages 18+ who completed their surveys online. Quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.4 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

About RBC’s financial planning advice, resources and interactive tools
Canadians can access RBC Financial Planning and for free planning, budgeting and savings advice and resources, or to find the nearest Investment and Retirement Planner. The RBC Advice Centre offers free online advice, resources and tools, including RRSPs and the RSP-Matic Savings Calculator. For Canadians who want to get more from their day-to-day banking, protect what’s important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre can help answer their questions.

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For more information, please contact:
Kathy Bevan, RBC Communications, 416-974-8820