Many not saving enough for retirement: StatsCan

As many as one-third of households in the country may not be saving enough for retirement, says Statistics Canada.

As many as one-third of the country's households may not be squirreling away enough for their later years, according to a Statistics Canada study.

More than 1.5 million families who have a main provider between 45 and 64 had no private pension savings in 1999, the agency reported Friday.

These households will have to rely almost solely on public retirement plans Old Age Security and the Canada or Quebec Pension Plans.

"For many working families and individuals, the income provided by Canada's public pension system will not be sufficient to allow them to maintain a standard of living similar to the one they had prior to retirement," the survey concludes.

"Many will require private pension assets most notably from employer pension plans and RRSPs and other private savings if they are to avoid a disruption in their lifestyle."

Although some people will be able to take out loans if they need extra cash, not everyone owns homes or other collateral.

"For most Canadians, the principal residence is the most important asset. Not surprisingly, those who do not own their home, or who own it with a mortgage, are in a more difficult situation when it comes to generating sufficient retirement income."

Ontario and Alberta have the highest proportion of families who may not have saved enough, according to the study on financial security.

The figures show a stark contrast between those with private retirement savings and those without. In 1999, Canadians have more than $1 trillion locked away in personal or employer-supported registered pension plans one of the biggest sources of investment capital in the country.

Almost 60 per cent of families had RRSPs or RRIFs two years ago, with a median value of $20,000. About 47 per cent had some type of pension plan through work, with a median value close to $50,000. A median is the mid-point in a range of numbers.