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What Is The Average Savings Of A Canadian By Age?

3 min read

what is the average Canadian have saved by their age

Written By

Brandi Marcene

The post-pandemic inflation has hit the global economies so badly that we can’t think of wasting money on insignificant things.

We never know when the next global pandemic or natural disaster might bring us down. So, “better stay safe than sorry” should be our mantra for life.

In 2022, an average Canadian household managed to save around 6.2% of their disposable income, while in 2020, this average household savings rate was around 26.5%, which shows a huge difference (as determined by Statista). At this rate, do you think you will be able to cater to your retirement needs?

There are numerous factors that a person must analyze to determine preparedness for retirement. For example, their income level, retirement goals, investment strategies, and their age.

The age at which a person starts saving enough money greatly affects their financially secure future. Building healthy savings habits is important for people of every age, whether they are young or old.

Do you know why youngsters are pushed or advised to save more money from the moment they land their first job? For financial security, peace of mind, and a comfortable future.

You might be thinking about savings because you want to figure out the milestones like starting a family, buying a home, paying the mortgage and childcare expenses, or preparing for retirement.

But with so much conflicting information and the evolving circumstances, it's not easy to know about saving money for retirement in Canada, given our age. Don’t worry, as we are here to help!

The Concept Of Average Savings And Retirement Savings


When it comes to personal finances, the question of “average savings” often comes to our mind. We usually think, “on average, how much should I save?”. So, let’s solve this puzzle here.

It may appear straightforward, but finding the right answer deeply varies and depends on the person asking. Therefore, it is important for us to understand the limitations of averages and the factors shaping each person’s financial structure.

So, remember that averages don’t paint the whole picture of locked-in retirement accounts. A single number masks the vast differences in income, expenses, lifestyle choices, and financial goals that define our unique situations. What's "average" for someone in their 20s starting their career might be wildly different from someone nearing retirement. Let’s say the 30-day savings rule will not work the same for a person in their 50s compared to someone in their 20s.

However, you can't ignore the help you get from average savings, as they serve as valuable starting points. Beyond the concept of "average savings," specific savings goals like retirement savings deserve focused attention.

We think it is important to discuss retirement savings and average savings with one another because people mostly save, or they should save for their retirement.

Canadians have access to various tools, including Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs), tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs). These retirement tools help with the following:

● An RRIF converts the contributions of accumulated RRSP into a regular income stream for retirement.

● On the other hand, RRSPs are tax-advantaged accounts that allow Canadians to contribute a portion of their income for tax-deferred growth until they retire.

● The TFSA helps people aged 18 or over to save money throughout their lives without the burden of tax on them.

Timeframe Of Retirement Plans

According to Statistics Canada, around 52.3% of families participated in retirement savings plans in 2009, Canada. Gladly, in 2020, this number increased to 58.1%, which is quite high considering the pandemic.

Regardless of the plan you choose to invest in, you should remember that time is of the essence. When you invest in a plan, your investment keeps compounding, like earning interest on interest. And, when you reinvest your earnings, they grow further, creating a snowball effect.

That’s why it is recommended to start early because the earlier you start, the more you will benefit from exponential growth. Here is the timeframe for each plan:

Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)

This plan is quite popular with those who are interested in investing in financial assets. In this plan, you are allowed to save up to 18% of your earned income (capped at an annual maximum) from the year they turn 18 until the year before they turn 71.

When you come of age, you can withdraw your funds tax-free. This is done through various options like annuities or lump sums after turning 65. But by any chance, if you want to withdraw your money before 65, you will have to pay penalties and taxes.

Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs)

In such tax-advantaged savings accounts, Canadians contribute funds up to a set annual limit regardless of their income. This is only applicable when they turn 18 and beyond.

As the name suggests, the contributions and investment growth are tax-free upon withdrawal. It doesn’t even matter when you choose to withdraw it. This is one of the most flexible plans that offers financial goals beyond retirement (mortgage and childcare expenses).

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs)

This plan is connected to the RRSP as it converts the contributions of the RRSP into regular income. In other words, once an individual turns 71, their RRSPs must be converted to RRIFs, which provide a regular income stream at retirement.

However, when it comes to withdrawals, the minimum annual withdrawals are based on age and account value, ensuring consistent income throughout retirement.

Employer-Sponsored Pension Plans

In this plan, your employer usually contributes a percentage of your salary to the plan, typically vesting over time. Vesting schedules vary, so check your plan details. On the other hand, you might also contribute, often through payroll deductions. Contribution options vary by plan.

For withdrawals, the eligibility depends on factors like age, years of service, and plan rules. On the other hand, there are options whether you want your savings as regular income payments throughout retirement (called the annuity), you need a one-time payout of your accumulated value (which may incur taxes and penalties), or a mix of annuity and lump sum.

Government Benefits

In this, you contribute through payroll deductions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The government doesn't contribute directly but funds Old Age Security (OAS) through general tax revenue. At the time of withdrawals in OAS, the funds are available at age 65, regardless of contributions or employment history.

In CPP, the funds are available at age 60 or later, with benefits increasing the later you start (subject to early retirement reductions).

Average Savings By Age In Canada

Now that we have mentioned what each retirement plan takes, it is important to know the average savings by age group. However, age or timeframe is just one side of the financial system. Your individual circumstances and goals play an important part in determining your savings according to your age. But, we have curated these age groups with proper research to give you an idea.

From The 20s

We are unsure about the average Canadian savings in the 20s because very limited data is available. However, we estimate that it is relatively lower because, at this time, people take student loans, struggle to start careers and struggle to establish independence.

At this age, they usually go through challenges like balancing debt repayment, rent, and essential expenses while building an emergency fund and exploring long-term savings options. Besides building an emergency fund, their goal is to establish good credit habits, and if you are interested in your credit performance, then you should build your credit with KOHO. It gives you an organized way to repay your credits and build a healthy credit history.

From The 30s

At the age of 30, it is expected that you should save around 15% of your gross income on average. But remember that it is average, not mandatory. It can vary according to your family size, career progression, and mortgage considerations.

Besides these dependencies, there are certain challenges that an average Canadian might be going through. Such as childcare costs, mortgage payments, and retirement savings while potentially supporting aging parents.

At this point, you will prioritize an emergency fund and maximize your RRSP contributions. Also, you will try to maximize your savings for goals like a down payment on the house or future education expenses. For this very purpose, you can use tools like a virtual credit card for responsible spending with its automated savings features.

From The 40s

At this age, being an average person, you can take your savings to 30% or more of your disposable income. This is when your career is at its peak, and your priorities shift. This is the ideal time for saving, but the challenges become different.

For example, you will have to balance a higher annual income with growing expenses like children’s education, potential mortgage obligations, and increasing healthcare costs.

Your saving goals become aggressive as you try to contribute your max to RRSPs, and then you consider TFSAs for supplementing retirement savings. Besides, you start prioritizing debt reduction and estate planning.

Now, you must evaluate your investment portfolio and seek professional financial guidance to optimize your savings for retirement and future goals.

From The 50s And Beyond

This comes under your pre-retirement income, and your average savings vary greatly depending on your previous saving habits, contributions, retirement plans, and ongoing expenses. Most probably, you will follow the previous 30% option or will come down to 15% to 20%. In your 50s, you will look forward to settling down with your stable job and avoiding job hopping. You will think of when you will call out your retirement officially.

After your 50s, when you retire, instead of savings, you will focus on managing your retirement income, potentially supporting adult children, and going through your healthcare costs. You will seek to transition from the accumulation to the distribution phase to acquire financial assets while ensuring that you have enough retirement income and potentially considering legacy planning.

Here, you will look for RRIFs to convert your RRSP savings into a regular income stream. Once you get your income stream, you can use tools like overdraft protection coverage for financial peace.

Have a look at the following table to understand the average savings of a Canadian by age:

Age Group

Average Savings Rate

Notes

20s

Limited data, likely lower

Balancing student loans, starting careers, establishing independence.

30s

Around 15% of disposable income

Variations due to family size, career stage, and mortgage considerations.

40s

Can reach 30% or more

Peak earning years, potentially higher financial priorities.

50s

Varies significantly

Reflects past saving habits, retirement plans, and ongoing expenses.

Building a Healthy Financial Future

These average savings will help you give a starting point but don’t be tied to them. You should know that your financial journey is solely yours, as every average Canadian’s life differs from one another. If you keep on focusing on these averages, you will mislead your financial future.

See What You Can Do

We believe that you have more potential than these average numbers, so don’t stall yourself. You have to assess your situation. For example, think about your income, expenses, debts, and current savings. Then, think about how you see yourself in the future at the age of retirement.

Do you want to come out of the house on a chilly winter morning when you're 67? Or do you want your chilly mornings under a cozy blanket? So, maintain a healthy credit score before coming to the retirement age group.

Be Realistic In Goals

First of all, you have to be honest when you plan on building a healthy financial future.

When you assess your income stream and other expenses, make sure you maintain accuracy and honesty. Don’t be unrealistic, as you don’t want to bear a financial loss.

At the same time, don’t compare yourself to others because your life is totally different from theirs. When you set goals, consider your income, expenses, and lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you start small; just keep on increasing your contributions.

Use Smart Tools And Resources

There are platforms that offer financial tools to help people manage their finances. For example, with KOHO, you can check your credit score for free, which can help you monitor your credit health and make informed decisions about borrowing.

You’ll also get some handy tips, interesting articles, and insights into why your score might be shifting. Plus, checking your score with KOHO won’t hurt it, so you can check it worry-free.

You can also use a high-interest savings account to grow your savings with competitive rates. With a KOHO high-interest savings account, you’ll earn four times more interest than at some of Canada’s leading banks*—up to 5% on your savings. We calculate your interest daily and pay it out monthly to boost your earnings. Just pick a plan, and opt into Earn Interest, and you can start earning right away with your KOHO account.

Finally, take help from resources like a financial advisor for personalized advice on your specific needs and goals. They can help you create an extensive financial plan, given your unique circumstances and risk tolerance.

Conclusion

For the best course of action, understand that the info provided will help you move beyond the average and take control of your financial future. The average savings by age for Canadians is what we call "average." It is not meant to be taken as it is.

So, you have to make personalized planning, and seeking help from financial planners can help you navigate your unique circumstances and build a secure financial path toward your goals.

The best banks are defined as the top 5 best banks in Canada as set out in The World’s Best Banks list for 2023 by Forbes (“Best Banks”). The KOHO interest rate was measured against the average posted interest rate for the Best Banks on July 24th, 2023, for savings accounts with balances less than $50,000.

Note: KOHO product information and/or features may have been updated since this blog post was published. Please refer to our KOHO Plans page for our most up to date account information!
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