A new RBC poll suggests Canadians are increasingly concerned about their ability to finance retirement because of saving for their children's education and caring for aging parents.
Royal Bank of Canada surveyed Canadians aged 18 and older about their retirement planning ahead of the busy RRSP season.
More than 40 per cent of all respondents said that saving for their children's education has or will impact their ability to save for retirement. That's higher than the 36 per cent who expressed those concerns in last year's survey.
Some 28 per cent of respondents said they were strongly or somewhat concerned that caring for aging parents would also impact their retirement savings, up from 24 per cent last year.
According to the 23rd Annual RBC RRSP Poll, concern about those two issues grew larger among respondents in the 18 to 54 age group.
Some 48 per cent in that group are concerned their ability to save for retirement will be impaired by saving for their children's education, while 36 per cent fear taking care of their aging parents impacts on their ability to save.
Despite the potential strain of these family priorities, more than half (57 per cent) of Canadians aged 18 to 54 say their parents' retirement experience has shaped their expectations of retirement.
"While Canadians may see their parents' retirement experience as a model for what to expect, the reality is that their retirement may not be the same, particularly if they are part of the sandwich generation with both aging parents and school age children," said Amalia Costa, head of retirement strategies for the bank.
The poll found that 26 per cent of Canadians 18 to 54 years old expect that an employer pension will be their primary source of retirement income, and just 18 per cent of them have a defined benefit pension plan.
The survey was conducted among 1,225 Canadians by Ipsos Reid between Oct. 24 and Nov. 27. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
There have been many surveys, reports and warning signs recently that have suggested Canadians, especially those close to retirement, have either not saved enough, are still in debt, or are being forced to work longer.
Banks and other financial institutions are ramping up their surveys on retirement issues ahead of a March 1 deadline for RRSP contributions.
Such surveys are routinely done by banks, insurers or other financial companies to research their customers' views and promote financial products and services such as mutual funds and wealth management.