Toronto, ON – The clock is winding down on RRSP season. And with the March 3rd contribution deadline just days away, more than a third of Canadians are still scrambling to make an RRSP decision.
In fact, according to a recent poll from CIBC 31 per cent of eligible Canadians have left their RRSP contributions until the last minute; with a number of those individuals finding it difficult to come up with the money to make a contribution this year.
And unfortunately, these numbers come as little shock to Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“Is it really any surprise Canadians are leaving their retirement savings to the last minute?” asks Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit. “Retirement savings should be part of a larger financial plan, but with the average Canadian carrying more than $27,000 in unsecured debt I would venture to guess that many of these households don’t have a budget or financial plan in place.”
While the clock may be ticking closer to the contribution deadline, Consolidated Credit recommends consumers use this time to create a realistic financial plan that includes both debt repayment and retirement savings.
“This means creating a budget, living within your means, setting realistic goals to pay down debt and saving for the future,” adds Schwartz.
If you are one of the many Canadians carrying unmanageable high interest debt, the non-profit credit counselling agency recommends you focus your funds on paying it off. Then use these tips to help create your plan for a healthy financial future:
- Determine your financial goals. Do you want to buy a house, start saving for retirement, eliminate student debt or plan a vacation?
- Review your monthly spending from 2013. Gather your monthly bank and credit card statements, along with your monthly bills. Organize them into fixed, flexible and discretionary expenses. Add up your spending in each area and compare it to your income.
- For your 2014 budget, add your debt repayment and savings goals to your monthly expenses.
- Take a good look at your budget and be merciless about cutting your expenses so you can reduce debt and increase savings.
- Put your credit cards on ice and use cash or debit to avoid increasing your debt load.
- Make saving invisible and then watch it grow. Use one of the tools available at your financial institution to automatically deduct a realistic savings amount from each paycheque.
By creating a budget and sticking to it, Canadians can avoid leaving their contributions until the last and plan successfully to pay off the past and save for the future.
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:
Kylie-Anne Doerner, Communications & Public Relations Manager, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. (B) 416.915.7283 ext. 1057 (C) 289.231.7900 or [email protected].