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Majority count on CPP for retirement: poll

Majority count on CPP for retirement: pollA man looks at a retirement planning brochure January 13, 2014 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

TORONTO - A majority of Canadians recently polled say they are relying on the Canada Pension Plan, many of them heavily, to get through retirement.

The Bank of Montreal survey found that 89 per cent said they would have to rely on the CPP or the Quebec Pension Plan when they stopped working.

Nearly a third — 31 per cent — said say they will count "heavily" on the government pension plan.

Meanwhile, 88 per cent of respondents said they would use personal savings like RRSPs or tax-free savings accounts to help fund retirement, while 59 per cent said they would likely take a part-time job.

Other options included the 49 per cent of respondents who planned on selling their homes or property for some cash.

Less than half — 40 per cent — were counting on an inheritance, while 34 per cent hoped to win a lottery. Twenty-eight per cent say they expect to get financial assistance from their children or other family members.

The online poll of 1,003 adults was conducted by Pollara between Nov. 18 and Nov. 22. The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

Chris Buttigieg, a senior manager of wealth planning strategy at BMO, advises against relying solely on government pension plans in retirement, given that the average monthly CPP payment is less than $600 and the maximum tops out at not much more than $1,000.

"Rather, they should consider the CPP and QPP to be a supplementary component of their overall retirement income solution and focus on creating their very own personal pension plan by contributing to an RRSP on a regular basis," he said.

The best plan is to have a diversified retirement nest egg, which can include the CPP, an RRSP, a work pension plan, a tax-free savings account and other forms of savings or income.

Buttigieg also had some advice for those hoping that a jackpot win will be their primary source of income in their golden years.

"To those hoping to win the lottery to fund their retirement, the odds of actually winning are approximately one in 14 million. A much better bet would be to develop a personal retirement savings and investing plan and to start contributing as early and as often as possible to your RRSP," he said.

Earlier this week, the Ontario government announced it was working on a new Ontario Pension Plan it expects to unveil in the spring. The province has appointed former prime minister Paul Martin to head a special advisory panel to oversee the creation of the pension plan and decide if it should be mandatory.

Ottawa has long asked the provinces to support Registered Pooled Pension Plans as an alternative to enhancing the CPP, but Ontario has rejected that idea because such plans would be voluntary.

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