Nest or nest egg?
$24,100 That’s the average amount withdrawn by British Columbians who have taken money out of their RRSPs before retirement, according to a 2016 BMO study—51 per cent more than the national average. As Canadians scramble this month to make tax-year deposits before the RRSP cutoff, people here will be contributing less, borrowing more and paying back withdrawn funds at a rate 15 per cent below the rest of the country. In real-estate-rocked B.C., the number-one reason for this is no surprise: the funds pay for homes. “It’s concerning,” says Roxanne Hoffman, BMO’s regional VP of financial planning for B.C. and Yukon. Although the use of RRSPs for down payments can be tax-smart, she says, those who don’t balance that with retirement savings can find themselves choosing between home and income later on. “Houses may not always go up,” Hoffman warns. “If you are relying on real estate to fund your retirement, you are making a lot of assumptions.”