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The Average Savings by Age in Canada - How do you Compare?

Written by Jessica Steer
Everyone knows they should be putting a bit of every paycheque towards retirement. However, it’s easier said than done when retirement seems ages away and you’re too preoccupied with student loans, mortgages, and other pressing expenses. Furthermore, it can be overwhelming even thinking about retirement planning if you don’t know where to begin or how much you need to save.
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    To help you get started, we’ve compiled guidelines and benchmarks based on age group so you can track your progress and calculate how much you need to save for your golden years. We also rounded up the average savings of Canadians, so you can see how your current finances compare to other people your age.

    If you feel like you’re behind, don’t get discouraged. It’s never too late to save for retirement. With a solid retirement plan, consistent contributions to tax-advantaged accounts, and enough time, you can build up a sizable nest egg no matter your age.

    How much do you need to retire in Canada?

    According to Statistics Canada, the pre-tax median retirement income for senior families is $65,300 per year. Everyone has different incomes, expenses, and goals though, which means there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to retirement savings.

    The amount you need to save depends on a variety of factors such as:

    • The age you want to retire
    • Where you want to live
    • The kind of lifestyle you want to live
    • Whether you’ll continue working during your retirement years
    • Whether you’ll support other family members
    • Whether you’ll have to pay down a mortgage or other debt

    Many financial planners say you’ll need around 70% of your pre-retirement income to fund one year of retirement. This is assuming your living expenses decrease once you’re retired. For example, no more commuting expenses, fewer dependents to support if your kids have left the nest, and lower housing costs if your mortgage is paid off.

    There is also a good chance you’ll live at least 25 years after you retire, which means you should take 70% of your annual salary and times it by 25. The total is how much you need to retire in Canada. Let’s say you make $60,000 per year – 70% of that is $42,000. Multiply by 25 and you get a total of $1.05 million.

    The 4% rule is another popular way to calculate your target number. The guideline advises you to withdraw 4% of your investment portfolio every year and by doing so, ensures your nest egg will last at least 30 years. For example, if you have $1 million in an investment portfolio consisting of 50% stocks and 50% bonds, you can withdraw and live off of $40,000 during your first year of retirement. The percentage you withdraw always stays the same, but the dollar amount increases every year with inflation. To get started with the 4% rule, figure out how much your annual expenses will be in retirement and then use that number to determine how large your nest egg needs to be.

    Remember, these are general guidelines and you’ll need to consider your personal circumstances to calculate an accurate retirement savings goal. If saving over $1 million seems like a pipe dream, don’t worry. It’s possible to amass a hefty savings account if you start saving early, make steady contributions, and take advantage of tax-advantaged accounts. More on that later.

    In Canada, the average person has around $272,000 saved by the time that they retire. This averages out to a household income of $514,000. This is just in cash savings though, These numbers don’t include assets or any pensions that you will receive. The average amount that Canadians hold in RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) is $144,613, as of 2022.

    How much should you have saved by age?

    Figuring out how to save a massive lump sum can be intimidating if you’re not sure where to start. Luckily, financial services company Fidelity crunched the numbers and came up with age-based milestones you can use as general benchmarks for your retirement planning. According to Fidelity, you should have at least one year of salary saved by the time you’re 30. By age 60, you should have stashed away at least eight times your annual salary if you want to continue living your current lifestyle in retirement.


    Number of Annual Salaries Saved


    These milestones are based on the following assumptions:

    • You save 15% of your annual income starting from age 25 (includes employer matched pension plans)
    • You invest over 50% of your savings in stocks over your working career
    • You retire at age 67 and want to maintain your pre retirement lifestyle

    This means that by ages 30, if you make a yearly salary of $50,000, then you should have around $50,000 saved. By 40, you should have $150,000 and by 50, you should have $300,000 saved up for your retirement.

    How much money does the average Canadian have saved?

    Statistics Canada tracks asset and debt levels held by Canadian households. The following tables feature the latest average values from 2019. See how your savings compare with other Canadians your age.

    Retirement savings refers to:

    Financial assets refer to:

    Please note, the tables don’t include debt and non-financial assets such as real estate and vehicles.

    Average savings of economic families

    An economic family refers to a group of two or more people who live in the same home and are related to each other by blood, marriage, common-law partnership, adoption, or foster relationship.


    Retirement Savings

    Financial Assets

    Total Savings

    Under 35

    Average savings of single individuals not in an economic family


    Retirement Savings

    Financial Assets

    Total Savings

    Under 35

    If we break this down a little further into how much the average Canadian saves per month, you would see it between $1,200 and $2,300. How much you save though just depends on your monthly income and what your bills are.

    What is the average net worth of Canadians by age?

    Statistics Canada also monitors the average net worth of Canadians. Net worth is assets minus liabilities. Assets include retirement savings, financial assets, real estate, and vehicles, while liabilities consist of loans, mortgages, and other debt.

    Average net worth of economic families

    Age Group

    Net Worth

    Under 35

    Average net worth of single individuals not in an economic family

    Age Group

    Net Worth

    Under 35

    What is the average yearly savings rate in Canada?

    Based on Statistics Canada data, the average household savings rate in 2019 was 2.07%. This number surged to 14.9% in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic and reached as high as 27.2% during the second quarter of the year. Social distancing measures and lockdowns forced Canadians to reduce their spending, resulting in the average Canadian saving more than $5,000.

    Canadians continued to sock away money in 2021 as the average savings rate held steady at 12.7% for the first three quarters of the year. The Bank of Canada says some of the savings were used to pay down debt, purchase homes, and acquire financial assets however, it appears the vast majority is sitting in bank accounts. As life returns to normal, it will be interesting to see whether Canadians continue to save or go back to pre-pandemic spending levels.

    How to save for retirement by age group

    It’s never too early or too late to save. A good way to measure progress and calculate potential savings is to strive for personal finance goals depending on the stage of your life. It’s also recommended to review your retirement savings plan every three years or whenever a significant life event happens (e.g. marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child). Again, the following tips are just guidelines, so don’t feel disheartened if you haven’t started saving or can’t contribute much to retirement right now.

    Saving in your 20s

    After graduating college or university, focus on paying off your student loans as fast as possible. Start building a healthy credit score by paying your bills on time and establish an emergency fund with enough money to cover three to six months of unexpected expenses.

    When you enter the workforce, aim to put away at least 15% of your gross income for retirement. If your company offers an employer-based retirement savings plan (RPP), sign up immediately as most employers match your contributions to help you grow your nest egg faster.

    Retirement may be the last thing on your mind when you’re in your 20s, but the earlier you start saving, the easier it will be. Saving early allows you to save less each month and gives your money more time to reap the benefits of compound interest.

    Let’s say you save $181 every month for 20 years and earn an annual interest rate of 5% compounded on your savings. After two decades, you’ll have almost $75,000 saved and earned over $30,000 in interest. If you only have ten years to save the same amount, you’ll have to put away $480 per month and will only get $16,940 in interest.

    Years to Save

    Savings per Month

    Total Amount Saved

    Interest Earned


    Saving in your 30s

    From getting married to starting a family, your 30s are often filled with major life events. It can be hard to focus on retirement savings when you’re paying a mortgage and childcare expenses, but try to contribute as much as you can to your RRSP and TFSA. These tax-advantaged savings accounts offer a lot of perks. RRSP contributions reduce the amount of income taxes you pay and any investment income earned within the account can grow tax-deferred until it’s withdrawn. TFSA contributions and the investment income earned within it are always tax-free, even when withdrawn.

    Saving in your 40s

    Your 40s are usually your peak earning years. Use salary raises and bonuses to strengthen your savings and pay down debt. Look for ways to cut back on monthly expenses. For example, you could get a lower monthly payment by refinancing your mortgage or reviewing your insurance plans. If you’re behind on your goals or weren’t able to think about retirement until now, talk to a financial advisor about your savings options and goals.

    Saving in your 50s

    With retirement just around the corner, now is the time to max out your RRSP and TFSA and take care of any remaining debt. Monitor your investments and make sure you have enough sources of retirement income to support your golden years. Make a budget and use the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator to see how much you could receive from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and other retirement benefits.

    In 2022, the average CPP monthly amount is $702.77 with the maximum set at $1,253.59. The maximum OAS monthly amount is $642.25. Even if you get the maximum amount from both programs, you’ll only receive $22,750 annually. Government benefits aren’t enough to support you through retirement, which is why it’s important to strengthen your RRSPs and personal savings.

    Saving in your 60s

    In your 60s, you can keep working to bulk up your savings or leave the workforce if you’ve hit your target number. If you’re not sure if you can quit your job yet, use the Government of Canada’s retirement financial checklist to gauge your financial wellbeing.

    You can start collecting CPP when you’re 60, OAS when you’re 65, and withdraw money from your RRSP accounts. RRSP withdrawals are taxable, which means you’ll have to report it as income and pay income tax. Keep in mind RRSPs must be fully withdrawn or converted into an RRIF during the calendar year you turn age 71.

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