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The stress of RRSPs

Canadians who are stressed about the annual RRSP deadline are not alone according to a new study that found 60 per cent of respondents feel anxious about coming up with the money for their retirement savings.

And almost half of respondents to the survey, 49 per cent, who make an annual RRSP contribution do so in a lump sum, said the Bank of Montreal study released Wednesday.

The uneasiness around the March 1 deadline is understandable when Canadians have to deal with other financial priorities, said Marlena Pospiech, senior manager BMO Wealth Planning Group.

"If they haven't saved regularly it could be really hard, especially coming out of the holiday season and if they have racked up a lot of debt over that time," Pospiech said in an interview from Toronto.

Household debt is a problem and Canadians have been borrowing like never before with help from low interest rates. Statistics Canada recently said the household debt to income ratio is at a record high of 164.6 per cent.

BMO said contributing even a small amount, a few hundred dollars, to an RRSP is better than nothing at all.

"If they don't have the full amount, that should not stop them from making a contribution," Pospiech said.

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