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This RRSP season, you may invest the same amount you always have, or even more, but you're likely to take less risk with your money.

That's what Investors Group recently found in its eighth annual poll of Canadians' investment intentions.

After a year when most of us saw our portfolios shaken by the turbulent economy, many Canadians will be investing more conservatively ahead of the RRSP deadline in March.

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"People are being more cautious," says Jack Courtney, assistant vice president of advanced financial planning at Investors Group.

"In 2007, when people were asked whether they would invest in safe investments, only 15 per cent said yes. In 2008, that number jumped to 40 per cent and now it's over 44 per cent."

The Investors Group survey didn't define what a safe investment might be, but we can assume that investors are likely looking less at equities these days and more at fixed-income vehicles. Given that many of us will be playing it safe with our portfolios, with more predictable but perhaps lower long-term returns, it's not surprising we're also planning to delay retirement.

Investors Group found that concern over economic uncertainty prompted more than one-third of Canadians to say they will delay retirement, an increase from 28 per cent who responded similarly a year ago.

In another twist that shows just how badly many families are hurting, the survey found that those in households hit by job loss planning to work the longest. One-in-six Canadians had a family member lose a job in 2009. More than half of those impacted by job loss say they will retire later and 30 per cent expect they will have to work after they retire.

The results of the poll were fairly consistent across the country, but British Columbians were the most affected financially by job loss compared to the national average, and more planned to delay retirement due to economic uncertainty than in any other province.

Most would agree that it's a good thing Canadians are saving and investing for their futures. But it is sobering to consider that so many of us no longer see a rosy retirement in the cards.

 

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