Canadians estimate $756K will provide a comfortable retirement

Ninety per cent of Canadians don’t have a retirement plan that takes into account their desired post-retirement lifestyle, according to a new survey by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Its survey, which polled more than 1,500 Canadian adults, also found 53 per cent of respondents aren’t sure if they’re saving enough while 37 per cent haven’t thought about retirement or are unable to save.

Have your say: Are Canadians on track for retirement savings?

“If you don’t have a retirement plan, you’re throwing darts at numbers in the dark, guessing at how much you’ll need to live on comfortably once you’ve stopped working,” said Jennifer Hubbard, managing director of financial planning and advice at CIBC, in a news release. “It’s important to take an honest look at your finances today, and determine what your retirement goals and dreams are because that will influence when you retire and how much it will cost. That way, you can find the best path to get from here to there.”

Canadians estimate, on average, they’ll need $756,000 in personal savings for a comfortable retirement, according to the survey. Millennials believes they’re need the most, at $917,000, compared to generation X ($842,000) and baby boomers ($518,000).

However, another new survey by the Royal Bank of Canada found only 38 per cent of millennials are actually saving for retirement, despite 46 per cent indicating it as a top financial goal. In addition, 50 per cent of millennials said they don’t have a registered retirement savings plan and, if given the choice to contribute to either an RRSP or a tax-free savings account, 48 per cent would chose a TFSA.

Read: Fewer Canadians contributing to RRSPs: Statistics Canada

“TSFAs offer a great savings vehicle, but millennials can’t overlook RRSPs, particularly as they move into their 30s,” said Richa Hingorani, senior director of digital strategy at RBC, in a news release. “While retirement can seem so far away for these younger Canadians, we want them to know that time can work in their favour.

“By starting to invest even small amounts on a regular basis into an RRSP now, they can build their future savings through the magic of compounding within their RRSP, with growth through a combination of interest and potential dividends.”

Read: Are Canadians doing better on retirement readiness despite RRSP gaps?

The CIBC survey found the average amount Canadians have already saved for retirement is $184,000, while 19 per cent of respondents have saved less than $50,000 and 30 per cent have no retirement savings at all. Among respondents who are nearing retirement (ages 45 to 64), 32 per cent have saved nothing. The average savings for that age group is $345,000, and 49 per cent have saved less than $250,000.

According to the CIBC survey, 43 per cent of Canadian women aged 55 and over don’t have a retirement plan in place, compared to 27 per cent of men in the same age group. It also found that, among those with retirement savings, women have saved an average of almost 25 per cent less than men.

“It’s less about how much you’ve saved, but how your savings line up — or don’t line up — with your lifestyle goals that really matters,” said Hubbard. “With so much on the go, your retirement plan can be the single most powerful and effective tool for building your wealth and financial security. And it’s never too late to start.”

Read: Canadians worry about outliving retirement savings: surveys