More Canadians are saving money (70%) to prepare for retirement, and many are also taking a more holistic approach by paying off debt (66%), finds an RBC poll.

Figuring out what regular expenses would be (45%) and building up an investment portfolio (39%) were the next most common activities.

Also, this year’s study found more Canadians are worried about balancing saving for immediate priorities versus saving for the longer term (81% in 2012 compared to 77% in 2011).

Read: Extending retirement funds

“Balancing those short and long terms goals can be tricky,” says Amalia Costa, head, retirement strategies, RBC. “Discuss your options [with an advisor] and chart a course of action.”

Just over one-in-four (27%) plan to maximize their RRSP contributions for the 2012 tax year. Younger Canadians are the ones breaking this trend. Those between the ages of 18 and 34 say they will contribute the maximum allowable amount this year (32% in 2012 compared to 16% in 2011).

Read: Canadians not maxing out RRSP contributions

“One of the most effective ways to build your retirement nest egg is an automatic contribution plan,” adds Costa. “This is done automatically—you don’t have to think about it and often, you won’t even miss it.”

Additional findings include:

  • 55% have an RRSP, down from 60% in 2011;
  • Among those who plan to make a one-time contribution to their RRSPs, 27% already did so in January/February 2012; 25% plan to do so in February 2013;
  • The average planned RRSP contribution for the 2012 tax year is $4,025—the lowest in four years;
  • 73% plan to contribute at least as much as what they contributed for 2011; 46% of those aged 18-34 say they will contribute more for 2012;
  • Only 32% make regular contributions;
  • Mutual funds remain the top planned RRSP investment choice (46%), followed by GICs (24%) and savings accounts (22%).

Read: Vik’s Pick: More TFSA room, more savings?

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