CanadiansRRSP Contributions: Poll by Ipsos-Reid

Toronto, ONTARIO � According to a recent telephone poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid on behalf of the Bank of Nova Scotia, almost one-half (47%) of Canadian adults do not intend to contribute to an RRSP for the 2003 tax year. This proportion includes both Canadians who chose not to make an RRSP contribution and those who are not eligible for these contributions due to their age or for other reasons.

Of those surveyed, almost three-in-ten (29%) said they had already made some contribution towards an RRSP for 2003. Another two-in-ten (21%) had not made a contribution at the time of the survey (early December 2003), but said they intend to do so.

Further, when asked about the importance of �saving for retirement� as a financial goal, a majority (63%) of Canadian adults reported this is a �very important� goal for them.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos-Reid telephone poll conducted on behalf of Scotiabank between December 9th and 11th, 2003. The poll is based on a randomly selected sample of 1,055 adult Canadians. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within � 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population.

In a poll conducted by telephone in early December 2003, 1,055 Canadian adults age eighteen or over were asked about RRSP contributions for the 2003 tax year. Just under one-half (47%) said they were not intending to make an RRSP contribution for 2003, or that this was not applicable due to their age or other reasons. Among the others, 29% reported they had already made an RRSP contribution towards the 2003 tax year and 21% said they intended to do so.

  • Residents of Alberta were more likely than those in other provinces to report (60%) they had already made or intended to make an RRSP contribution. Adults living in Ontario and Quebec were next most likely (52% in each province) to report an RRSP contribution made or intended. BC residents were next at 46%, followed by residents of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Atlantic region at 40%.

  • Not surprisingly, there were significant differences in RRSP contributions made or intended across age groups. RRSP contribution levels peaked among those age 35-54 (at 67%), with lower levels among the 18-34 year olds (52%) and those age 55 or over (26%). Canadians in the pre-retirement age cohort of 35-54 reported the highest level (43%) for having already made a 2003 tax year RRSP contribution by the time the survey was conducted in early December.

This survey also asked Canadians about the importance attached to saving for retirement, 86% say it�s important. Using a rating scale from �very important� to �not at all important�, 63% of Canadian adults polled reported that this is a �very important goal,� 23% said it�s �somewhat important,� 5% �not too important,� and 9% �not at all important.�

  • Regionally, there were only minor differences noted for the importance of saving for retirement. The proportion saying �very important� was only slightly higher in Alberta (66%), followed by Quebec (64%), Ontario (62%) and all of the other provinces/regions at 61%.

  • There were, however, differences assigned to this financial goal among Canadians in various age categories. The pre-retirement age group of 35-54 reported the highest level of importance for this goal, with 68% saying it is �very important� to them. Those in the age 55 or over category were at 61%, followed by the younger group of 18-34 year olds at 57%.

  • Males (62%) and females (63%) assigned approximately equal weights to a retirement savings goal.

One-third of Canadians (34%) have a formal, written plan to help achieve their financial goals.

  • Residents of Alberta (41%) are most likely to have a plan, followed by residents of Ontario (36%), Atlantic Canada (34%), British Columbia (33%), Quebec (30%), and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (28%).

  • Canadians 35 years of age and older (38%) are more likely than young adults (22%) to have a formal, written plan to help achieve their financial goals.

When asked to state how much savings or investments were needed for a retirement �nest egg�, one-in-five (20%) Canadians said they would need up to $100,000, 15% reported between $100,000 and $250,000, while just over one-third (35%) said $250,000 or more. Just over one-quarter (28%) were unable to specify an amount.

  • Residents of Alberta had the highest level of expectations, with half (51%) expecting at least $250,000 in savings. Almost one-quarter (24%) of adults in Alberta had expectations of $1 million or more. 12% reported needing $100,000 or less and 13% said between $100,000 and $250,000.

  • In BC and Ontario, 37% and 38% respectively of residents expected to need at least $250,000. 17% in BC and 20% in Ontario said below $100,000, while 10% in BC and 13% in Ontario noted between $100,000 and $250,000.

  • In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 13% said they would expect below $100,000, 17% between $100,000 and $250,000, with 32% over $250,000. Thirty-nine per cent (39%) did not name an amount.

  • Those in Quebec and the Atlantic region noted 28% and 20% respectively for amounts below $100,000, 22% and 10% respectively for between $100,000 and $250,000 and 27% and 32% respectively for amounts over $250,000.

About Ipsos: Founded in 1975, Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research group, with revenues of 538.5 million euros in 2002. It offers a full suite of research services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies in advertising, marketing, public opinion, media and customer loyalty research, as well as forecasting and modeling. Member companies also offer a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services. Visit to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.