The level of general financial literacy among Canadians remains fairly low, although comparable to levels measured in other industrialized countries. In the context of an aging population and a changing retirement landscape, the RSI Index measures Canadians’ knowledge of their retirement income system.
The 2021 edition of the RSI Index combines the responses of 3,002 Canadians aged 35 to 54 to 29 questions on general financial literacy and on retirement programs. For this 3rd edition, the overall index is down slightly to 37.0%, in between the overall score obtained for the two previous editions of the Index, thus still showing a significant lack of knowledge among Canadians. The best-understood subjects are once again CPP/QPP and RRSPs/TFSAs, while the most difficult subjects continue to be employer plans and Old Age Security. In both these cases, respondents said they “didn’t know” the answer, on average, to half of the questions – a new result this year. In addition to raising questions, once again, about the capacity of Canadians to make financial decisions with heavy consequences, the RSI Index 2021 underscores the importance of providing information on the retirement system, as well as the uncertainty and lack of knowledge that are characteristic among Canadians.