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retirement and rrsps

Affluent Canadians say they require $2.3-million to retire comfortably, two-and-half times what individuals across all income levels say they need, according to a new poll.

The study released Friday by BMO Harris Private Banking found that the average amount that Canadians as a whole – irrespective of income level – identified for a decent retirement is $908,000.

There is also a large gap in the confidence the two groups surveyed have in how adequate their savings practices will be to ensure the desired retirement lifestyle, the research showed.

Among high-net-worth respondents, 95 per cent said they are optimistic about their ability to save for retirement. That compares with 69 per cent of all Canadians.

Yannick Archambault, vice-president and chief operating officer of BMO Harris Private Banking, said in a release that saving for retirement is not a one-size-fits-all proposition in terms of the ideal amount people need to save.

"How much you require will be determined largely by what you kind of lifestyle you envision for yourself, including where you plan to live, how much you want to travel and other factors that could require funding."

Well-off Canadians are also content with how their retirement planning is progressing, the survey concluded.

In other findings, 86 per cent of respondents in the wealthy category – those with investible assets of $1-million or more – expressed confidence with their current savings and investment plan.

And 70 per cent of those respondents said they see stocks as producing the best returns over the next five years, followed well behind by real estate (39 per cent), bonds (24 per cent) and cash (19 per cent).

On a regional basis, the average amount Canadians as a whole say they need for retirement varies:

  • Atlantic: $622,000
  • Quebec: $584,000
  • Ontario: $978,000
  • Manitoba/Saskatchewan: $768,000
  • Alberta: $1.3-million
  • British Columbia: $1.1-million

The online survey of high-net-worth individuals was conducted by Pollara between March 28 and April 11, 2013 using a sample of 305 Canadians with at least $1-million in investable assets. The margin of error for a sample of this size is plus or minus 5.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The results from among the general public are from online surveys fielded by Pollara among 1,000 Canadians during the second half of 2013. The margin of error for a sample of this size would be plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.