Piggy bank with national flag of Canada

More than one-third of Canadians are not making RRSP contributions a priority this year, according to Toronto-based Bank of Montreal’s eighth annual RRSP study.

As a result, the study says, Canadians are missing out on the advantages of long-term savings and tax benefits that can be gained from contributing to an RRSP.

While 40% of Canadians surveyed say they can’t reap the benefits of RRSPs because they don’t have enough money to contribute, others say they have other expenses that take precedence (23%) or investment options they deem better than an RRSP (8%).

The study also discovered the following:

  • Forty-seven per cent of Canadians surveyed plan to contribute to their RRSPs this year, consistent with last year’s findings of 46%
  • Thirty-six per cent will not be contributing to their RRSPs this year, while 17% remain undecided with only a month left until deadline
  • The average amount already contributed has decreased ($4,616 compared to $5,088 last year)

“Although the number of Canadians planning to contribute to their RRSP has remained steady since last year, a number of Canadians are not using their RRSP as an effective way to save for retirement,” says Robert Armstrong, vice president of multi asset solutions at BMO Global Asset Management, in a statement.

Consulting a financial professional or putting a financial plan in place can help Canadians better manage money their money in preparation for retirement, Armstrong adds.

The top reasons pushing Canadians to make retirement saving a priority this year are receiving a tax refund (44%), ensuring they have enough to get by in retirement (42%) and having enough money to achieve an ideal retirement lifestyle (38%).

The BMO RRSP survey was conducted by Toronto-based Pollara Strategic Insights between Dec. 21 and 28, 2017 — with an online sample of 1,500 adult Canadians.