Reversing last year’s results, more Canadians cite saving for retirement as a top financial priority compared to paying off debt, according to the 24th annual RBC Ipsos Reid RRSP Poll released January 9, 2014. Over half (52%) are now focusing on increasing retirement savings, with 48% placing a priority on debt reduction, compared to 44% and 54%, respectively, in last year’s poll. The reversal is even more marked among middle-aged Canadians — those 35 to 54 years old — with almost two-thirds (62%, versus 52% last year) focusing on saving for retirement ahead of reducing debt (52% versus 56%). Seven per cent of Canadians indicated that supporting aged parents was their financial priority while 20% listed home renovations as the priority.  The poll also found that RRSP ownership among those aged 35 to 54 has jumped to 68% from last year’s 58%. In addition, one-quarter (26%) of middle-aged Canadians have determined they will need to save, on average, $545,000 for a comfortable retirement. Retired Canadians estimate that they will need savings of $235,000 for a comfortable retirement which is a bit of a puzzling figure because in the previous year this group estimated that they needed $347,000 of retirement savings. Non retired Canadians estimated that they need $610,000 of savings.

RRSP Deadline is March 3, 2014