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December 2004
Vol. 5, no. 12

Perspectives on Labour and Income

Using RRSP savings before retirement
Philip Giles and Karen Maser

  • The practice of withdrawing money from RRSPs before retirement is not restricted to lower-income groups. Between 1993 and 2001, over 40% of those in the middle income deciles with RRSPs made withdrawals.
  • Overall, less than 40% of those withdrawing money from an RRSP in 1993 had repaid the money by 2001. The proportion was even lower for older age groups (22% for those 50 to 59).
  • Close to one-fifth of withdrawers aged 50 to 59 took out relatively large amounts ($10,000 or more) and were less likely to repay them.
  • People whose spouse died, who lost their job involuntarily, or who started a new business withdrew substantial sums ($10,000 or more) more frequently.

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The authors are with the Income Statistics Division. Philip Giles can be reached at (613) 951-2891, Karen Maser at (613) 951-0793, or both at

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