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Canadians Withdrawing More From Their RRSPs For Everyday Expenses - BMO Study
  • Canadians have withdrawn an average of $20,952 – an increase of $3,739 from last year
  • National annual survey with regional breakdown

TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2018 /CNW/ - BMO Financial Group today released the second installment of its eighth annual Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) study, which reveals that Canadians continue to dip into their retirement savings to fund short-term expenses.

According to the study, 40 per cent of Canadians have made a withdrawal from their RRSP. Those who have done so have withdrawn an average of $20,952, an increase of $3,739 compared to an average of $17,213, last year.

Reasons for withdrawing from their RRSPs include:

  • To purchase a home (27 per cent)
  • To help pay for living expenses (23 per cent)
  • For emergencies (21 per cent)
  • To pay off debt (20 per cent)

"We've seen a steady increase in the amount of money Canadians are withdrawing from their RRSPs to meet short-term needs; this should be considered only as a last resort," said Robert Armstrong, Vice President, Multi Asset Solutions, BMO Global Asset Management. "There are tax consequences associated with withdrawing from your RRSP, so be sure to consult a financial professional to ensure you have exhausted all other options that may be available to you."

He added that it's best to only make premature RRSP withdrawals for the purpose of buying a new home or paying for continuing education, as these withdrawals may qualify for the Home Buyers Plan or the Life Long Learning Plan.

Regional Breakdown


% of Canadians who
have made an RRSP

Average amount
Canadians have
withdrawn from
RRSPs ($)

Top reason for making an
RRSP withdrawal




To buy a home (27 per cent)




To buy a home (30 per cent)




To buy a home (35 per cent)




To buy a home and to help pay
for living expenses (26 per cent)




To help pay for living expenses
(36 per cent)




To help pay for living expenses
(29 per cent)




To pay off debt (23 per cent)


Saving vs. Investing

According to the BMO study, Canadians are better savers than investors: more than one third are not planning to contribute to their RRSPs this year but once a month or more, more than half of Canadians (59 per cent) are putting money into their savings accounts and keeping it as cash, while 41 per cent of Canadians are putting money into an investment plan, such as a TFSA or RRSP.

Reasons why Canadians are not putting money into an investment plan include:

  • Not having enough money (44 per cent)
  • Paying off debt (25 per cent)
  • Other things to spend money on (21 per cent)

"Although a majority of Canadians are saving, most are not taking advantage of the additional returns that investments can provide," said Mr. Armstrong. "Consider investing a small amount each month through a Continuous Savings Plan, which makes automatic and consistent contributions to your investments throughout the year."

For more information on saving for retirement, please visit

For more information on investing, please visit

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The Eighth BMO RRSP Survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights via an online survey between December 21 and 28, 2017, with an online sample of 1,500 adult Canadians. Data has been weighted using the latest census information to be representative in terms of age, gender and region. The margin of error for a probability sample size of 1,500 is ± 2.5% 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider – the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $710 billion as of October 31, 2017, and more than 45,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: Media contacts: Alicia Skrinjar, Toronto,, 416-867-3996; Valérie Doucet, Montreal,, 514-877-8224