The level of general financial literacy among Canadians is fairly low – comparable to what is observed elsewhere. In the context of an aging population and of a changing retirement landscape, the RSI Index measures the knowledge that Canadians have of their retirement income system.
The 2020 edition of the RSI Index combines the responses of 3,006 Canadians aged 35 to 54 to 29 knowledge questions, on general financial knowledge and on programs (4 topics). For the 2nd edition, the overall index shows a slight increase at 38.2%, still reflecting a limited knowledge of the system; more educated individuals improved their score. The best-known topics are again RRSPs and the CPP/QPP, which may be more present in the lives of the non retired. The most difficult topics are the ill-known employer plans; and Old-Age Security programs, on which 3/4 of respondents have a hard time providing more than 4 correct answers out of 8 questions. Limited knowledge of the system could be a disadvantage for many; and although the survey was fielded prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, its results raise questions about the capacity of Canadians to take financial decisions with heavy consequences. The 2020 RSI Index also reminds of the importance of information on the retirement system.