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New year, new resolve: saving for retirement outranks reducing debt in 2014 for Canadians, says RBC poll

Significant jump in RRSP ownership among 35 to 54 year olds

TORONTO, Jan. 9, 2014 /CNW/ - Reversing last year's rankings, more Canadians are citing saving for retirement as a top financial priority compared to those who are prioritizing paying off debt, according to the 24th Annual RBC RRSP Poll. Over half (52 per cent) are now focusing on increasing their retirement savings, with 48 per cent placing a priority on debt reduction, compared to 44 per cent and 54 per cent respectively in last year's poll. This reversal of financial priorities is even more marked among middle-aged Canadians - those 35 to 54 years old - with almost two-thirds (62 per cent versus 52 per cent last year) focusing on saving for retirement ahead of reducing debt (52 per cent versus 56 per cent).

"These findings indicate Canadians are more comfortable with how they are managing their debt and this is allowing them to focus more strongly on retirement savings this year," explained Bill Hill, national retirement planning consultant, RBC. "To help ensure those savings will support the retirement they have in mind, we recommend they review their lifestyle and financial goals with a financial advisor as early as possible."

The annual RBC poll also found that RRSP ownership among those aged 35 to 54 has jumped to 68 per cent from last year's 58 per cent.  In addition, one-quarter (26 per cent) of middle-aged Canadians has determined they will need to save, on average, $545,000 for a comfortable retirement.

"This is the age group that needs to be planning now for the lifestyle they want to have in retirement," Hill emphasized. "As Canadians who have already retired know, there is so much more to your retirement years than just the money you think you'll need. The beginning of each new year is a good time to sit down with a financial advisor to explore all aspects of a successful retirement - you may well find you have more options than you are aware of today."


Financial Priority Canadians
2013 2012 2013 2012
Retirement savings 52% 44% 62% 52%
Reduce or eliminate debt 48% 54% 52% 56%
Rainy day savings 43% 44% 39% 40%
Home ownership 32% 34% 29% 33%
Keep head above water 30% 32% 30% 32%
Saving for large purchase 25% 28% 19% 22%
Building investment portfolio 23% 17% 22% 16%
Home renovation 20% 20% 20% 20%
Child/grandchild education 16% 20% 18% 24%
Supporting aging parents 7% 7% 7% 6%

RRSP Ownership 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Canadians 18+ 59% 55% 60% 61% 54%
Canadians 35 to 54 68% 58% 67% 70% 57%

retirement savings
amount estimated
C$ hundred thousands
2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Non-retired Canadians $610 $564 $778 $655 $656
Retired Canadians $235 $347 $339 $274 $267
Canadians 18+ $476 $465 $601 $501 $497
Canadians 35 to 54 $545 $547 $786 $633 $581

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 regarding retirement and estate planning including RRSPs and the RSP-Matic Savings Calculator. In addition, RBC's myFinanceTracker, a comprehensive online financial management tool, offers all personal RBC online banking clients the ability, at no cost, to create a budget and track their spending habits, as well as manage and plan their taxes.

About the 24th Annual RBC RRSP Poll
The 24th Annual RBC RRSP poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid between November 6 to 20, 2013 via a random sample of 2,062 Canadian adults in the general population (aged 18 and over). The results are based on samples where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. A weighted probability sample of 2,062 Canadian respondents, with 100 per cent response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of ±2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


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