Retirement pushing Canadians to sock away more cash during recession

Canadians are socking away more money and spending less than people of many other industrialized nations in the current global economic downturn, a new survey suggests.

Canadians are socking away more money and spending less than people of many other industrialized nations in the current global economic downturn, a new survey suggests.

The push to save is driven in part by a belief among almost one-third of Canadians that the recession will mean a delayed retirement, according to the survey from international bank ING Direct.

The global report released Tuesday suggested 77 per cent of Canadians have saved at the same pace or more in the past six months, which is just one percentage point behind the first-place Austrians.

Overall, Canadians were better savers that people in the United States, which came in third with 72 per cent of those surveyed saying they saved the same or more in the past six months.

However, more Americans had increased their savings than Canadians in recent months.

The survey found 60 per cent of Canadians said they were saving the same amount they did six months ago, while 17 per cent increased their savings. That compares to 47 per cent of Americans who were said they were saving the same sums, and 25 per cent having added more to their piggy banks.

The survey, conducted six weeks ago in nine countries, comes the same day the U.S. Commerce Department said Americans’ personal savings rate fell to 4.6 per cent in June, after jumping to 6.2 per cent in May, which was the highest since February 1995. The rate dropped as low as one per cent at times last year.

That compares to a 4.7 per cent savings rate for Canadians in the first quarter of 2009, down from 4.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to Statistics Canada. The rate was down to 1.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2007.

In the ING survey, 23 per cent of Canadians said their savings dropped in the past six months, compared to a 28 per cent drop in the U.S.

ING Direct president and CEO Peter Aceto said Canadians have remained more optimistic about their finances than people in other countries “and they’ve taken charge of their own economic well-being.”

The survey comes as Canada is said to be coming out of one of the worst recessions in its history.

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