Canadians hold a variety of misconceptions about RRSPs that could be costing them in the long run, according to a survey commissioned by Toronto-based Questrade Inc.
Notably, only half of Canadians believe it would be easy to transfer their RRSPs from one institution to another—but 78% said they’d like to, if they could find a lower-fee option that would ensure an improved rate of return, Questrade says.
The misconceptions Canadians have about RRSP transfers include high transfer fees (32%) and tax penalties (24%). A significant number (16%) would prefer to avoid uncomfortable conversations with their current advisors or financial institutions.
An RRSP transfer between institutions doesn’t trigger a tax event, Questrade says. While there may be a transfer fee, this will often be reimbursed by the recipient institution if prompted.
“If current choices are not maximizing one’s retirement savings, now is the time to consider a change,” Edward Kholodenko, Questrade’s president and CEO, says in a statement. “Fees, the misconceptions of a tax penalty and a potentially uncomfortable discussion to switch should not be obstacles.”
The survey also revealed that clients have a somewhat limited view of their options. When presented with an option to invest $1,500 for retirement, two-thirds of respondents chose a traditional, higher-fee option (mutual funds) or a lower-return option (savings accounts). This narrow view could inhibit Canadians’ long-term financial success, Questrade says.
Respondents said they value the ability to manage their RRSPs and make contributions online (31%), especially those between the ages of 25 and 44.