Two-thirds of Canadians polled would like to have put more money into their RRSPs for the 2013 tax year, according to a new survey that found average contributions were down slightly this time around.
The Bank of Montreal's (TSX:BMO) RRSP deadline survey, conducted last week, said that Canadians were contributing an average of $3,518 to their RRSPs, down $26 from an average of $3,544 for the 2012 tax year.
"It looks like from one year to the next, we're consistent," said Chris Buttigieg, senior manager of wealth planning strategy at BMO Financial Group.
"If it was down $1,000, I'd be concerned," Buttigieg said from Toronto.
Buttigieg noted that Canadians are also juggling other priorities such as mortgages, car payments and month-to-month living expenses.
Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of Canadians were making contributions to their Registered Retirement Savings Plan before the deadline, which expired at midnight Monday night, up from the year-earlier's 63 per cent.
More than half of those surveyed said they were contributing as much as they could, although 35 per cent of respondents said they could have contributed more, according to results of the survey released Tuesday.
The survey also found that one in three who anticipated getting money back from the Canada Revenue Agency after making an RRSP contribution planned on saving or reinvesting the return, while one in four planned to pay down non-mortgage debt.
Lower priorities were paying down a mortgage at 18 per cent, travel or buying leisure items at 16 per cent and home renovations or household expenses at 10 per cent.
The top investment choices for those surveyed were mutual funds at 49 per cent; guaranteed investment certificates at 35 per cent; bonds at 18 per cent; stocks at 17 per cent and exchange traded funds at 12 per cent, the survey said.
Now that this year's deadline has passed, Buttigieg is encouraging Canadians to think ahead and consider setting up a savings plan budget for next year's RRSP contribution.
"It's a tried, true and tested method."
Canadians have about $500 billion in unused RRSP contributions and that's expected to increase to $1 trillion by 2018, Buttigieg said.
The online survey was conducted by Pollara market research firm with an online sample of 1,007 Canadians from Feb. 21 to Feb. 25. The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.