A new survey suggests Canadians are dipping into their registered retirement savings plans like never before and the high cost of housing may be driving those decisions.
The study released Tuesday and conducted by Pollara for Bank of Montreal from Dec. asked 1,500 adult Canadians how much they had withdrawn from their RRSP during the year. The online survey, considered accurate to within 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20 found, on average, Canadians had withdrawn $17,213 during the year — an increase from $15,908 a year earlier.
“It’s concerning to see that so many Canadians are dipping into their RRSPs to meet short-term needs, which should only be considered as a last resort,” said Chris Buttigieg, director of wealth planning publications with BMO Wealth Management.
Rising real estate prices could be a factor in the decision to raid an RRSP because 30 per cent of people in the study nationwide cited that as their number one reason for withdrawals.
The Home Buyers’ Plan has become a popular vehicle for Canadians to get access to their RRSPs to buy houses because first-time buyers can borrow up to $25,000 from their retirement savings plan and pay the money back over 15 years. There is no penalty for making the withdrawals, as long as you pay the money back in the specified time frame.
Buttigieg said Canadians need to consider additional options that may be available before making any withdrawals. “Make sure you have fully considered the ramifications of the early withdrawal tax consequences,” said Buttigieg. In most cases, RRSP withdrawals will count as income in the year the money is taken out and taxed at your highest marginal rate. (http://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/retirement/rrsp/more-canadians-are-raiding-their-rrsps-to-buy-a-house-make-ends-meet-and-pay-off-debt)
Locally, in Orangeville and Dufferin County real estate prices have gone way up, with properties in Dufferin going up over 19% in 2016. (http://rlprcr.blogspot.ca) This gives most home owners a chance to pay off other high interest debts and obligations by refinancing their properties at historically low interest rates.
For more information or help with refinancing contact:
Geoff Del Grande
12A Second St.