Average Savings By Age In Canada (2022): See How You Stack Up

The latest data from StatCan shows that lower-income Canadian households save just $852 per year.

However, the highest-earning Canadians were able to save over $41,000. It makes sense that high-income earners save more while low-income earners save less.

What about the average savings by age in Canada, though? Just how much does the average Canadian individual have saved up? Below, I’ll answer all of these questions and more, so you can see how you stack up compared to other Canadians.

Average Savings By Age In Canada: The Statistics

StatCan maintains detailed records on how much the average economic family in Canada has saved. An economic family is defined as a group of two individuals who live in the same home together, married, family, or otherwise.

StatCan measures both the average retirement savings and the average value of financial assets (home, vehicles, investments, land, etc.) by age. Here’s what the latest statistics show for the average savings for an economic family in 2019:

AgeValue of Financial AssetsAverage Retirement SavingsAverage Total Savings
35 or younger$42,900$90,500$133,400
35 to 44$51,600$220,500$272,100
45 to 54$127,000$437,400$564,400
55 to 64$163,600$645,500$809,100
65 or older$224,400$514,800$739,200

As you might expect, the older an economic family is, the more savings they’ll have. The value of financial assets typically increases at a steady pace, as taxpayers purchase more expensive vehicles, homes, and other financial assets.

The value of retirement savings seems to increase at a far quicker rate, as retirement savings accounts are often investment accounts that can grow with the market.

Looking at the table above, you may be wondering, “Why do Canadians 65 and older have less retirement savings than the 55 to 64 age group?”

This is because age 65 is the standard retirement age. While some choose to continue working into their late-60s and early-70s, the average Canadian retires at 65 and begins to tap into their retirement savings account, which can reduce the overall balance of retirement savings.

How Much Should You Have Saved By Age In Canada?

There’s not exactly a set amount that you should have saved by a certain age in Canada. How much you should have saved depends on your current earnings, your annual living expenses, and the type of lifestyle that you want to live after retirement.

Somebody who plans on living a minimalist lifestyle after retirement won’t need as much as an individual who wants to drive a Mercedes, take monthly vacations, and maintain a membership at a golf club.

That being said, Fidelity mentions a great guideline to saving in Canada – by age 30, you should have at least one year’s worth of your current salary saved.

For example, if you earn $65,000 per year, and just turned 30, then your total savings should be at least $65,000 spread across your financial assets and retirement savings.

Here is a full chart detailing Fidelity’s recommended savings by age for Canadians:

Age Of Canadian TaxpayerHow Much They Should Have Saved
301 year’s salary
352 years’ salary
403 years’ salary
454 years’ salary
506 years’ salary
557 years’ salary
608 years’ salary
6710 years’ salary

It’s worth keeping in mind that not all savings need to be liquid. Liquid savings refers to cash saved that can be immediately accessed. The best savings are often tied up in term investments and aren’t designed to be accessed for several years or until retirement.

For example, an RRSP savings account typically shouldn’t be cashed out until after age 65 and GIC investments require you to save your money in 3 month to 10-year terms.

While these savings aren’t liquid, they still count towards your total savings as an individual.

What Is The Average Yearly Savings Rate In Canada?

What Is The Average Yearly Savings Rate In Canada?

According to the latest data from StatCan, the average yearly savings for Canadians in 2021 was $9,972. This accounts for both low, middle, and high-income earners. Now, let’s break this down into an easy-to-understand percentage to show the percent of their total income that Canadians save.

In 2019, the average Canadian saved just 2.07% of their total net income. However, the following years after the pandemic saw a massive increase in Canadians’ average savings rate. In 2020, the savings rate increased exponentially to 14.09% and 27.02% towards the final quarter of 2020.

So, how did Canadians manage to save more during the midst of a global pandemic?

It turns out that all of the lockdowns and social distancing regulations discouraged shopping and spending. Retail shopping centres and malls were ghost towns, and even grocery stores saw fewer customers. Instead of spending, the majority of Canadians were saving.

This data should really make you stop and consider what you’re spending your money on and think about just how much you could save if you lived frugally for a year or two.

What Is The Average Household Income In Canada?

An individual who earns $70,000 per year typically won’t be able to save as much as somebody with a $225,000 annual salary. This is why averages can often be deceiving.

Sure, the average yearly savings for Canadians may have been $9,972. However, this number is just an average calculated based on the combined income and savings of everybody, including low and high-income earners.

To get a better understanding of savings (and how much you should have saved), it helps to take a closer look at the numbers.

The average income for Canadians in 2020 was $66,800, after taxes were paid. If you do the math (divide the average savings by the average income), you’ll see that the average Canadian saved just over 14% of their total post-tax income in 2020.

What Is The Average Net Worth Of Canadians By Age?

The term “net worth” is often thrown around in conversations but is not always properly understood or referenced. Some people look at their bank account balance and savings account balance and believe that the combination of the two represents their net worth. This is not the case.

  • Net worth = your total assets and savings – your total liabilities

So, let’s say that you have $50,000 saved, but you owe a total of $20,000 to various creditors. In this case, your net worth would be $30,000. Of course, this is an extremely basic example.

Normally, your net worth would also account for any equity that you have in your home and other assets that you might not own outright.

Now, here’s what the average net worth by age in Canada looks like, according to data from Fidelity and StatCan:

AgeAverage Net Worth (2019)
35 or under$48,800
35 to 44$234,400
45 to 54$521,100
55 to 64$690,000
65 or older$543,000

You may notice a similar trend on this table as the one above where I referenced the average total savings by age in Canada. During their late-30s and early-40s, Canadians quadruple their net worth (on average).

This is likely due to the fact that they’re receiving more gainful employment opportunities as they gain valuable experience.

However, after retirement, the net worth of Canadians declines as retirees tap into their savings to support their living and enjoy life a bit.

What Is The Average RRSP Balance In Canada By Age?

What Is The Average RRSP Balance In Canada By Age?

An RRSP (registered retirement savings plan) is one of the most common retirement accounts held by Canadians. RRSP accounts are tax-deferred, which allows your accounts to grow quicker during your contributing years. You’ll pay taxes after retirement whenever you make a withdrawal from your RRSP.

Recently, StatCan put together a conclusive data sheet detailing the average total of Canadians’ retirement savings, including the balance of their RRSP, LIRA, and RRIF accounts. Here’s what the data shows for 2019 (which is the most recent data available):

Age of Canadian TaxpayerAverage Retirement Savings (RRSP, LIRA, RRIF)
35 or younger$51,300
35 to 44$90,900
45 to 54$158,200
55 to 64$244,500
65 or older$283,000

At this point, you may notice that this table doesn’t follow the same trend that the tables earlier in this article follow, where the individual’s net worth and total savings decrease after 65.

This is because Canadians are allowed to continue contributing to their RRSP until age 71. Even after retirement, many Canadians continue to contribute money into their RRSP accounts while they use some of their cash savings or liquidate some of their assets (i.e. – downsizing their home).

How Much Savings Should I Have To Retire In Canada?

The amount of money you should have saved to retire comfortably varies significantly, depending on the individual.

For example, if your mortgage is 100% paid off and you have no dependents living in your home, then you won’t need quite as much as a retiree who still owes money on their mortgage and has children living in their home.

Spring Financial recommends that Canadians should have at least $800,000 saved before retirement and $1.6 million saved as a married couple.

Let’s say that you and your spouse plan to retire at age 65 with a combined total of $1.6 million in retirement savings. Taking modern healthcare and longevity into account, you plan to live until at least 90, which means that you’d have to make your savings last for 25 more years.

If we divide $1.6 million by 25 years, that means you and your spouse would have an average of $64,000 per year to live on. Keep in mind that this does not count for future inflation.

Living on $64,000 per year is certainly manageable. However, this amount may leave little left over for vacations, a new vehicle, gifts, or home upgrades that you may want to purchase in the future.

In other words, I recommend that you have more than Spring Financial’s recommended $1.6 million in retirement savings (especially if you plan on living a long and healthy life). Using the above example, $2.5 million in savings would give you and your spouse $100,000 per year to live off from age 65 to 90.

How To Make Sure You’re On Track For Retirement In Canada

The best way to make sure that you’re on track for retirement is to create a full personal budget and determine the total value of all of your savings, including:

  • Retirement savings (RRSP, LIRA, RRIF)
  • Financial assets (stocks, crypto, land, etc.)
  • Non-retirement savings (cash savings)

Following Fidelity’s recommendation (see the table above), you should have at least one year’s worth of your current income saved by the time you reach age 35. By 50, you should have at least 6 years’ worth of your current salary saved.

This will ensure that you can continue to live comfortably as a retiree without having to live too frugally.

Tips For Saving Money In Canada

To wrap things up, here are a few helpful tips that you can start implementing to start saving more money so that you can invest in your retirement (or just build up your savings).

1. Take Advantage Of TFSA Savings Accounts

If you don’t have a TFSA savings account, then you should open one. These accounts incentivize Canadians to save, as they’re special accounts that the CRA doesn’t tax. The TFSA program began in 2009.

Every year since then, the CRA has allowed Canadians to increase the total balance of their savings by a certain amount (typically around $5,000). The current maximum TFSA limit is $81,500.

The money that you put into these accounts is never taxed and can be saved as much as you want. TFSA investment accounts allow you to further grow your money tax-free by investing in stocks, GICs, and more.

2. Maximize Your RRSP Contributions

If you work for an employer that offers an RRSP retirement plan, they will typically offer to contribute (match) a percentage of your investment up to a certain amount.

Figure out the maximum that your company is willing to contribute per pay period into your RRSP and maximize your contribution to match this number.

By doing this, you’ll essentially be doubling your RRSP savings while you’re working under your employer. You can always contribute more personally if you want to see your savings grow even quicker.

3. Invest In Term GICs

A Guaranteed Investment Contract (GIC) is a great way to build your savings over time. These investment vehicles allow you to allot a certain amount of your money to a financial institution in return for a percent back on your investment. It’s a lot like loaning money to the bank.

Some GICs may offer up to 5% back on your money with a five-year term period. This means that you’ll receive all of your money back in five years, with 5% interest stacked on top.

Given the current inflation rates, it might be smarter to stick with shorter-term GICs, even if they don’t offer as high of an interest rate.

4. Maximize High-Interest Savings Accounts

High-interest savings accounts (HISAs) are just like a regular savings account in your bank. The only difference is that these accounts pay you a higher-than-average interest rate on the money you have saved.

For example, EQ Bank has an incredibly high savings rate of 2.50%, which is far more than you’d receive from a standard bank.

5. Budget To Save

My last tip is the most practical – budget to save. If you don’t plan to save, then you’ll probably never save as much as you hope. I recommend using a budgeting app to give yourself a full view of your total expenses and the money you earn.

Once you have a solid budget, create a detailed plan to save a certain amount with each paycheque you receive.

Final Thoughts

Average Savings By Age In Canada

Saving money shouldn’t be hard. With government incentives and high-interest savings accounts, anybody can start saving money tax-free or earning a fair interest rate on their savings.

Ultimately, the more money you save now, the more comfortable you’ll be able to retire.

Looking for more great ways to start saving money?

Check out my ultimate guide to saving money (sensibly) next!

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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