TFSA use jumps but average contributions are down

By Staff | December 18, 2018 | Last updated on September 15, 2023
1 min read
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More than two-thirds of Canadians have a TFSA in 2018, a 13-point jump from last year, a report from the Bank of Montreal says. But the average contribution was down slightly, just as the maximum amount is set to rise in 2019.

Pollara Strategic Insights’ research for BMO’s annual TFSA report found that 69% of Canadians have a TFSA, up from 56% last year. The average total holdings in the accounts was up to $27,053, from $22,008 in 2017.

While the total amount went up, though, the average contribution was down slightly this year: $4,826 from $4,989 in 2017. In both years the maximum annual contribution was $5,500. That’s set to rise to $6,000 in 2019.

Read: Essential tax numbers: updated for 2019

The report found that 43% of Canadians said they didn’t have enough money to contribute the maximum, while 38% needed to pay for something else.

Half of Canadians are using their TFSA for retirement savings, it said, compared to 39% keeping it as an emergency fund.

The report also found investors were missing important information about the funds. One-third didn’t know the maximum contribution amount in 2018 and two-thirds didn’t know about the change for 2019. Four in 10 didn’t know there’s a penalty for over-contributing.

Read: Why clients should rethink deliberate TFSA overcontributions

Pollara conducted the survey online between Nov. 30 and Dec. 5, 2018, with an online sample of 1,518 adult Canadians. Data was weighted using the latest census information to be representative in terms of age, gender and region. The margin of error for a probability sample size of 1,518 is ± 2.5% 19 times out of 20. staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.