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The study, to be released Wednesday, reveals that 57 per cent of those surveyed reported making a contribution for the 2014 tax year before the March 2nd deadline, down from 65 per cent for the 2013 tax year and 62 per cent for 2012.
The sixth annual post-RRSP deadline study also found that Canadians contributed an average of $ 3,737 this year, which is just over $ 200 more than what was contributed in the past two years ($ 3,518 in the 2014 study and $ 3,544 in 2013).
“While it’s great to see that a majority of Canadians contributed this year and that the average contribution size is higher than in previous years, it’s a concern that the percentage of those who put money towards their RRSPs is down,” said Chris Buttigieg, senior manager, wealth planning strategy, BMO Financial Group.
For those who did contribute to their Registered Retirement Savings Plan, 43 per cent said they think it’s the responsible thing to do, 38 per cent said it was to get a tax refund, 33 per cent said it makes them feel good about themselves while 25 per cent said it’s because they are worried they will not have enough money to finance their retirement.
Among those who skipped the RRSP this year, 38 per cent said it was because they don’t have enough money – down from 45 per cent last year. One-quarter of respondents said they have other expenses that had a higher priority, which is also down from 31 per cent in the 2014 survey.
According to the study, of those who are expecting a refund from the Canada Revenue Agency after making an RRSP contribution, one third (34 per cent) plan on saving or investing the money. This percentage has steadily declined over the last couple years from 36 per cent in 2014 and 39 per cent in 2013.
It found other intentions for RRSP tax refunds include paying down the mortgage (15 per cent, down from 18 per cent surveyed last year), home renovations (13 per cent compared to 10 per cent in 2014) and travel or purchase of leisure items (11 per cent, down from 16 per cent last year).
The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 1,002 Canadians 18 years of age and over, between February 24 and 25. A probability sample of this size is considered accurate within 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.