GRSPs: Benefiting Everyone’s Future

If you’re anything like me, you occasionally dream about what you’ll be doing after retirement. Floating on a yacht around the Spanish coast? Travelling the globe now that your kids have left the nest? It’s easy to dream big, but with the cost of living at an all time high, many feel the yacht may be leaving the pier without them. Safe to say the need for pre-retirement planning is more important than ever.

Canadians say they need $1.7 million in savings in order to retire, a 20 per cent increase from 2020, when Canadians estimated they’d need a nest egg of $1.4 million, according to a new survey by BMO Financial Group which polled 1,500 Canadians. It also found just 44 per cent of respondents are confident they’ll have enough money to retire as planned, a 10 per cent decrease from 2020. It also found a fifth (22 per cent) of Canadians plan to retire between ages 60 and 69.

The estimate is the largest since the bank first began surveying Canadians about their retirement expectations 13 years ago. While the figure may sound overwhelming to working-age Canadians, the number says more about the economic mood of the country than it does about real-life retirement necessities. But in any case, that’s a big number to throw around when a stick of butter is over $7.

While rising inflation may require tweaks to a retirement plan – such as contributing slightly more to savings each month or making cash-flow adjustments – these changes don’t necessarily have to be drastic and when it comes to retirement planning, knowledge is power.

A Group Registered Retirement Savings Plan (GRSP) is an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, similar to an individual RRSP, but administered on a group basis by the employer. Contributions are made by pay-roll deduction, on a pre-tax basis, through a GRSP administrator. Employee contributions are often matched by the employer (typically to a maximum of 3-5% of earnings), and contributions by the employer are taxable as income to the employee.

What does a company get for employer RRSP matching contributions? A lot, actually. In a competitive job market that’s now being called the Great Resignation, employers are increasingly challenged to offer even more meaningful and valuable perks to appeal to high-quality employees; and the GRSP has long been part of a first-rate compensation package.  

1 in 4 Canadians say they are less prepared for retirement because of COVID-19, but, the majority of Canadians would take a job with good benefits over one that pays more but offers no benefits, according to a 2021 workplace survey. A GRSP is the best of both worlds.

An employer that offers a way to help employees save for the future as part of its compensation package, particularly if they offer a matching program, will be an attractive option for talent that has their pick of jobs in the current market.

Not only this, but employers can help reduce the distracting anxiety of financial stress by offering a GRSP program so that employees can feel confident that funds are being set aside for their future every time they get paid. 80 per cent of employees say that employee financial issues affect their job performance. 

But with a reduced fear of the future, comes the opportunity for employees to focus on the present, including looking for ways to advance themselves in their careers, and excelling in their current roles.

When it comes to compensating employees, employers have long turned to GRSPs as a simple, cost-effective option – and employees are benefiting. When they find a company that cares about their financial future (almost) as much as they do, it says a lot about what it would be like to work for them. GRSPs may be one of the rare win-win situations in the workplace, because no matter which side of the desk you’re sitting on, every dollar counts.