We know that Canadians love their Canadian real estate, but I was curious to see what the average savings by age in Canada really was, minus the real estate factor. Canadians tend to be house rich and cash poor. I mean, is it really true that there are only 400,000 Canadians who are considered high net worth in Canada, meaning having more than $1,000,000 USD in financial assets? And that only under 1% of Canadians can be called high net worth Canadians?
This post will go over the average savings by age in Canada with a focus also on average retirement savings by age in Canada and average RRSP savings by age in Canada. We are all on our own investing journey, and technically shouldn’t compare ourselves to others (our individual circumstances are different, cost of living varies substantially from Vancouver, BC and Charlottetown, PEI, for example), but it is still “nice to know” how your finances stack up compared to other Canadians.
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Average Savings by Age in Canada
What is the average savings by age in Canada and what does “savings” include?
Average savings doesn’t include real estate, period.
Statistics Canada breaks average savings by age in Canada into two groups, those in an economic family and those who are not in an economic family.
The Statistics Canada Survey of Financial Security released in 2020 that was done in selected metropolitan cities across Canada shares the assets and debts by economic families.
What is an economic family?
An economic family is a group of more than two people living in one dwelling who are related together by blood, marriage, common law marriage, or adoption and foster relationships.
Basically like a household.
Here are a few caveats with regards to the Statistics Canada information.
- The specific data below is from 2019 data (the most recent available) and they are averages.
- Retirement Savings refers to RRSP or Pension Plan Savings (e.g. work pension plans, or work RRSP are included too)
- Average RRSP, RRIF, or LIRA is included within the average retirement savings.
- The average TFSA balance is lumped into the average non-RRSP or Pension savings but I thought it would be nice to tease it out so you can compare.
- The total average savings is the average retirement savings and non-pension savings added together (this includes things like bank accounts, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, anything outside of an RRSP or work pension)
I didn’t include the median savings of Canadians even though median might be a more accurate number than the average (as it can be skewed) because the data from Statistics Canada reported the median numbers as “use with caution” and “too unreliable to be published”.
Average Canadian Savings by Age
Here are the average savings by age of economic families (e.g. household savings)- so this means people not living on their own.
Average Savings By Age of Economic Families (Household) in 2019
|Age||Average Retirement Savings||Average RRSP, RRIF, LIRA||Average TFSA||Average Non-RRSP or Pension Savings||Total Average Savings|
|35 to 44 years old||$220,500||$90,900||$22,300||$51,600||$272,100|
|45 to 54 years old||$437,400||$158,200||$28,700||$127,200||$564,600|
|55 to 64 years old||$645,500||$244,500||$49,00||$163,600||$809,100|
|65 years and older||$514,800||$283,000||$61,300||$224,400||$739,200|
Here is the average savings by age of Canadians who are living in their own household without an economic partner (be it spouse, sibling, foster relationship, adopted relationship etc.).
Average Savings By Age Of Individual Canadians in 2019
|Age||Retirement Savings||Average RRSP, RRIF, LIRA||Average TFSA||Average Non-RRSP or Pension Savings||Average Savings|
|35 to 44 years old||$89,700||$47,200||$15,400||$36,200||$125,900|
|45 to 54 years old||$290,900||$118,200||$22,000||$59,600||$350,500|
|55 to 64 years old||$377,300||$150,500||$30,300||$69,200||$446,500|
|65 years and older||$272,100||$147,600||$40,100||$112,000||$384,100|
There are a few things interesting with this data that jumped out at me, and that is namely that the average TFSA balance is SO LOW.
I know I know, I’m preaching to the TFSA converted since you’re reading this blog, but here me out again as I get on my TFSA investing soapbox.
In 2022, if you contribute the maximum allowed amount to your TFSA, you could have a total of $81,500. In my humble opinion, the average TFSA for those age 65 years and older should be higher since the TFSA there are no probate taxes for the TFSA upon death.
Here’s a reminder of the TFSA contribution room for 2023 (if you were 18 years of age or older when the TFSA began in 2009):
|Year||TFSA Contribution Room|
The data is consistent with Statistics Canada data.
In a recent article by the Globe and Mail, there was an average TFSA balance for 2022 chart that really surprised me.
Mark from My Own Advisor shared the Globe and Mail’s article on the average TFSA balance for Canadians by age in one of his round ups:
As you can see the average TFSA account size is not that large (or at least not near the maximum contribution amount available to Canadians).
- For those ages 30-34 they had a $13,810 average TFSA balance
- For those ages 35-39 they had a $15,186 average TFSA balance
- For those ages 40-44 they had a $17,062 average TFSA balance
- For those ages 45-49 they had a $21,604 average TFSA balance
- Ages 50-54 have an average $27,675 TFSA balance and so on
The TFSA is one of the best retirement savings investment vehicles we have and it looks like most Canadians are using it as really just a savings account.
It really is a misnomer to call it the Tax Free “Savings Account” and it should be anything but.
Investing your TFSA rather than using it as a savings account is the optimal way to use your TFSA.
For steps on how to invest with your TFSA, here’s my step-by-step guide on how to get to a 6 figure TFSA or even 7 figure TFSA (if you start early enough).
Here’s my comparison between the RRSP vs TFSA.
Average RRSP by Age in Canada (or Retirement Savings)
Okay back to specific retirement savings in Canada.
The average retirement savings by age in Canada is a bit skewed since retirement savings according to Statistics Canada includes only RRSP and work pensions, and we know from my plug above that the TFSA is a great vehicle for your retirement savings (probably better than the RRSP for most Canadians).
|Age||Average Retirement Savings (Economic Family)||Average Retirement Savings (Individual)|
|35 to 44 years old||$220,500||$89,700|
|45 to 54 years old||$437,400||$290,900|
|55 yo 64 years old||$645,500||$377,300|
|Over 65 years old||$514,800||$272,100|
In this information from Statistics Canada, the thing that stood out for me was that the average retirement savings after age 65 dips down.
The average retirement savings at age 65 years and older dips down because people are drawing down their investment portfolios and using that money to fund their retirement expenses.
If you’re wondering exactly how to optimize your retirement drawdown (and whether you can retire early), Cashflow and Portfolios has a great tool to let you know year by year how much to draw down from your nest egg.
How Much Does The Average Canadian Have in RRSP at Retirement?
As a recap, the average RRSP savings by age in Canada is as follows:
|Age||Average RRSP Savings|
|Average RRSP Savings|
|35 to 44 years old||$90,900||$47,200|
|45 to 54 years old||$158,200||$118,200|
|55 to 64 years old||$244,500||$150,500|
|65 years and older||$283,000||$147,600|
You can extrapolate with this data how much the average Canadian has in their RRSP at retirement, approximately age 65.
Now that you know what the average RRSP savings by age are in Canada, how much SHOULD you have saved for retirement so far on your nest egg accumulation journey?
How Much Should You Save Saved For Retirement?
Hopefully this post helps you see how your retirement savings compared to other Canadians your age but you’re probably really wondering how much should you be saving for retirement and whether you’re on track.
You might be worried about whether you have saved enough for retirement.
Click here if you’re wondering how much you should have saved by 35 or how much you should have saved by 40.
In general, the guidelines of “how much you should have saved relative to your age” is related to your annual income.
Kind of a silly metric, I know, since there are some people who don’t work full-time (like me).
Here’s how to make sure that you are on track for a comfortable retirement in Canada.
How to Make Sure You Are On Track for Retirement
Here are some actionable points to make sure you are on track for retirement.
The earlier you start investing for your future and your freedom from the 9-5 grind, the better.
Start by tracking your net worth and tracking your investment portfolio. I can’t emphasize this enough.
If you don’t know where you stand, you don’t know where you’re going.
I use Wealthica to track my own investment portfolio, it’s free and works great if you use Questrade as your brokerage.
The next step is to minimize fees (switch to a robo advisor or even take the leap towards DIY investing with one-ticket-ETFs where you don’t need to rebalance yourself).
Contribute regularly to your retirement accounts (you can’t invest what you don’t save).
Finally, let time and compounding work their magic… and that’s it!
Here’s an example of investing $30,000 per year for X number of years (whether it is 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, or 40 years) with various CAGR.
A 6% annual return is pretty reasonable, considering the S&P500’s average annualized return from 1957 until Dec. 31, 2021, is 10.67%.
|Compound Annual Growth Rate||10 years||20 years||30 years||40 years|
As you can see, initially in the first 10 years there’s not much of a difference between the rates of return, but as time goes on, the return on your investments do matter, because of the magic of compounding.
Here’s what 10% CAGR looks like below, investing $30,000 per year for 40 years.
You can try it for yourself, this is one of my favourite compound interest calculators.
Many of us want to get rich in Canada and knowing where you might stand in terms of average savings by age in Canada compared to others your age can be a good first step to figuring out where you want to end up (e.g. with lot of Canadian passive income)
Once you’ve got the funds and the retirement savings in place, you’ll just need to figure out how to retire happy in Canada.
You might also be interested in:
- Canadian investing tips
- Investing for Millennials
- Best Canadian Dividend Stocks to Buy and Hold
- Covered Call ETFs in Canada
- How are dividends taxed in Canada
- Top 1% net worth in Canada
Does the average savings by age in Canada data surprise you?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.
10 thoughts on “Average Savings By Age in Canada (How do You Stack Up?)”
Nice work, Mark.
Since the beginning of this year, the stock market has melted down substantially. The whole picture of the total savings has been dramatically changed as those who invested heavily in the stock markets have been badly beaten up. A more accurate picture of the net worth, including what real estates Canadians own, would represent a more accurate one.
I wonder how Canadians fare when compare to others living in industrial countries.
Thanks again Mark for your latest article.
@Ken- Canadians are overweight in Canadian real estate 🙂
Great job, can we ask you to work on a more up to date analysis? Given ALL the changes we have ALL experienced over the last 6-7 months these figures/ estimates need a massive upgrade.
@John- thanks John for your feedback, I do not have statistics Canada data more recent than 2019.
These tables and numbers made me feel I am 55+ year old! Oh well.
@Mr. Dreamer- Hah 🙂 That’s a good thing in this case.
Thanks Mark. Two quick things. A lot of folks aren’t using their TFSA as they are planning to melt down their RRSP into the TFSA and they will need room for that. Its also hard for some to fund a TFSA and an RRSP. If you earn enough you should be hitting up RRSP and maxing out there first. Second thing, there is a recession every 8 to 10 years. If you’re forecasting out growth its good to keep in mind this will de-rail those projections pretty meaningfully. Appreciate your work here – just adding some additional thoughts. Cheers, J
@Jason- Thanks for sharing!
Could you please tell me how you are determining the worth of a work pension plan that is included in the Average Retirement Savings column and what about OAS and CPP pensions?
Linda- OAS and CPP public pensions are not included in the Average Retirement Savings column for Statistics Canada. The work pension plans are employer sponsored pension plans, RRIFs, LIRAs, and RRSPs.