The proportion of Canadians who believe they are not saving enough for retirement has jumped in the last three years, according to a survey released Monday by the Royal Bank.

Fifty-three per cent of those surveyed who have established financial goals feel they are somewhat short or nowhere close to where they think they should be to ensure a comfortable retirement. That was up from 36 per cent in a similar poll the bank did in 2007.

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On average, those polled who have not yet retired expect to need almost $660,000 to retire comfortably. ((iStock))

Fifty-four per cent expected their pensions will be their biggest source of retirement income, but 19 per cent do not know how much income their pension will provide.

Thirty per cent of Canadians aged 35-54 expect to be working in retirement, which the bank said suggests the concept of a traditional retirement is disappearing.

On average, those polled who have not yet retired expect to need almost $660,000 to retire comfortably, down from almost $900,000 in 2007. Retirees, meanwhile, have a goal of nearly $270,000 as the amount of money required for a comfortable retirement, down from nearly $450,000 in 2007.

The gap between men's and women's retirement savings goals significantly narrowed, from a difference of $366,000 in 2007 down to $136,000 in 2009. Men had a retirement goal of $922,000 in 2007, which fell to $555,000 in 2009 while women had a retirement goal of $556,000 in 2007, which fell to $419,000 in 2009.

"Clearly the recent economic turmoil has had an especially sobering effect on men's savings objectives," said Lee Anne Davies, head of retirement strategies, RBC Royal Bank. "Whereas women tend to be more long-term focused, which explains why their retirement savings goals have been less affected by short-term changes in the market."

The poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid between Oct. 21 and Nov. 2, 2009, and based on 1,457 adults interviewed online. The sample was then weighted to mirror Canadian demographics. 

A survey with an unweighted sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of 2.56 percentage points 19 times out of 20.