January 12, 2012 / 5:28 AM / in 6 years

Canadians more upbeat than Americans on retirement

(Reuters) - Canadians are more optimistic than Americans about their retirement savings, but both say they may have to delay their retirement or work part-time because money is short, a cross-border study showed on Thursday.

Separate online surveys of Canadians and Americans found almost 60 percent of Canadians are confident in their ability to save for retirement compared with less than 40 percent of Americans who feel the same way.

Looking at their current retirement accounts -- dubbed RRSPs in Canada and 401ks in the United States -- almost 90 percent of Americans said they were concerned about the performance versus 71 percent of Canadians.

Still, the study, conducted for BMO Financial Group (BMO.TO) by Leger Marketing, found half of Canadians and Americans said they have or may have to delay their retirement or work part time during retirement due to a shortage of savings.

“Despite the effect that the 2008 global recession had on investors’ abilities to save for retirement, the Canadian economy has fared significantly better than what’s been seen in the U.S. (and) this has contributed to our more optimistic outlook,” said Tina Di Vito, head of the BMO Retirement Institute.

“It’s telling, however, that half of respondents in both countries feel that they may need to delay their retirement or hold down a job during retirement.”

Market volatility and economic uncertainty have hit investors around the world, and the U.S. economy in particular has been plagued by a prolonged housing slump and persistently high unemployment. By contrast, Canadian housing prices remain high and the jobless rate is 7.5 percent, below the U.S. rate of 8.5 percent.

The Canadian data was based on an online survey of 1,520 Canadians from November 21 to November 24, with a margin of error of 2.5 percent 19 times out of 20. The U.S. online survey of 1,032 Americans was taken November 3 to November 8 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent 19 times out of 20.

Reporting By Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Frank McGurty

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