Edward Jones study: Majority of Canadians will not contribute to their RRSP despite soaring Household Savings Rate

News release | Feb. 8, 2021

Canadians RRSP Intentions Affected by the Pandemic

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Edward Jones Canada released a new study revealing how Canadian investors plan to approach this year’s RRSP season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The research found that 52 per cent of Canadians do not plan to contribute to their RRSP this year, 44 per cent of whom cited they cannot afford to due to the effects of the pandemic, while the remaining 56 per cent are prioritizing other strategies, such as paying down their mortgage or investing in TFSAs. 

The survey also revealed 31 per cent of Canadians are contributing to their RRSP this year but among this group, only 31 per cent plan to invest the maximum amount. According to Statistics Canada, Canada's Household Savings Rate is at its second highest level since the early 1990's. In Q3 2020, Canadians were saving 14.6 per cent of their disposable income compared to just 1.6 per cent in Q3 2019. The continued economic uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has played an important role in why Canadians are choosing to save their money. 

This RRSP behaviour aligns with Edward Jones' retirement study in partnership with Age Wave, published in August 2020, that also indicated one in three of those planning to retire are thinking about retiring later due the pandemic, predominantly for financial reasons: need for more income, reduction in savings, loss of investment value and increased uncertainty about how much money will be needed in retirement. 

“What the research shows is that Canadians have had to make financial compromises like deferring retirement contributions for other more immediate priorities and are storing away cash they can easily access in response to economic uncertainty,” said David Gunn, President of Edward Jones Canada. “During times like these, it’s important that investors make informed investment choices and avoid ‘knee-jerk’ financial decisions, that provide a short-term sense of security but don’t serve their long-term financial goals such as retirement. Finances can be daunting, but you don’t have go at it alone, a financial advisor can help assess a financial situation and potentially uncover solutions investors may have missed themselves.” 

Canadians are lost when it comes to saving for retirement 

Even as Canadians are feeling the effects of the pandemic on their finances, they are not engaging in conversations. In fact, when asked how often they think about their retirement savings, 20 per cent of respondents admitted to never thinking about their retirement at all. Of those contributing to their RRSP, 20 per cent said they are just focused on accumulating wealth without any specific goal. It comes as no surprise that 31 per cent of respondents find RRSP season to be transactional without serious evaluation of how their contribution supports their short- and long-term financial goals. 

“It’s clear the pandemic has had an adverse effect on how Canadians approach their finances. Competing financial priorities have led many to lose sight of what they're saving for in the long run. While there are fiscal benefits to contributing to your RRSP, it might not be the right strategy for everyone.,” added Gunn. “Canadian investors don’t have to compromise their financial goals - it's a balancing act. A financial advisor can help determine what savings or investment types best suit your needs, establish strategies for things like paying down debt and creating an emergency fund, examine insurance options to mitigate the unexpected and adjust plans to meet the needs of different stages of life without sacrificing long-term objectives like the ability to retire.” 

The RRSP deadline is March 1, 2021 and Canadians are generally eligible to contribute up to 18% of their previous year's earned income or $27,230, whichever is less (subject to any pension adjustments). For more information visit edwardjones.ca/retirement.

An online survey of 1516 Canadians was completed between January 15-17, 2021, using Leger’s online panel. No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e. a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 1516 respondents would have a margin of error of +2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Leger’s online panel has approximately 400,000 members nationally and has a retention rate of 90%.

About Edward Jones Canada 

Edward Jones is a full-service investment brokerage with more than 850 financial advisors in Canadian communities from coast-to-coast. A member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, the firm is also a participating organization in the Toronto Stock Exchange. Edward Jones has been ranked #1 for eight consecutive years in the J.D. Power Canada Full-Service Investor Satisfaction Study (2013-2020). For more information, visit edwardjones.ca.

Edward Jones received the highest score in the J.D. Power 2013-2020 Canada Full-Service Investor Satisfaction Studies of investors’ satisfaction with their full-service investment firm. Visit jdpower.com/awards.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: 

Nisha Mohan, Edward Jones
[email protected], (647) 212-6699

Tracy Truong, Proof Strategies for Edward Jones
[email protected], (416) 602-7072