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1/3 not saving for retirement

Two-thirds of households are setting aside money for retirement, taking advantage of either a registered pension plan, an RRSP or a tax-free savings account, Statistics Canada said Wednesday as it released the latest batch of numbers from the 2016 census.

Of 14 million households, 65.2 per cent made a contribution in 2015 — the most recent year for which data was available — to one or more of the three major savings vehicles, an apparent counterpoint to the prevailing narrative that too many Canadians take a cavalier approach to retirement.

Different generations took different approaches: Major income earners aged 35 to 54 were prone to make use of registered pension plans and RRSPs, while those younger than 35 and those older than 54 were more likely to contribute to a TFSA.

Or, in Statistics Canada's words: "Participation in savings plans followed strong life-cycle patterns."

It's the first time the census has probed the question, taking advantage of tax data to paint a more accurate picture of just how seriously Canadians take it — a picture which experts say has long been distorted by suspect data and aggressive investment marketing.

"I think things in general are still in pretty good shape when it comes to preparing for retirement," said Fred Vettese, chief actuary at Morneau Shepell in Toronto.

"For the most part, when you look at middle-income Canadians they are saving. So one of the problems with the statistics is that they end up being misleading."



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