So the brutal market conditions have you wondering whether you should sit on the sidelines this tax season instead of making a contribution to your RRSP.

After all, what difference does a year make to your retirement?

Rest assured, a lot of folks are in the same boat.

“It’s a very cautious planning cycle this time,” says RBC Financial Group’s chief economist, Craig Wright.

“This is the most volatile environment we’ve seen yet to make these types of decisions,” he says.

In fact, a recent BMO Financial Group survey shows that while many Canadians expect to weather the recession and are adapting to the chilly economy, not everyone is willing to jump on the RRSP bandwagon this time around.

According to the BMO Savings Monitor, six-in-10 investors say they will contribute as much to their RRSP this year as they have in the past — but a whopping 38 per cent are not planning to contribute to their RRSP this year, saying they believe they need the funds now.

“People are taking time to assess the situation and adapting to protect themselves during volatile times,” says Linda Knight, president and chief operating officer of BMO Mutual Funds.

“However, our research also indicates that some Canadians are unfazed by the shaky economy — in fact they may be in denial. Having a plan in place to help make sense of it all is paramount,” she notes.

The experts argue that you’re shooting yourself in the foot by sitting it out.

“I think a lot of people are weighing whether they should be using their ready cash to do it,” says Tessa Boyce, regional manager for BMO Mutual Funds.

“But a big downside if you don't contribute is that you may not be able to retire when you want,” she adds.