TORONTO (CP) — Canadians plan to reduce their contributions to registered retirement savings plans by 20 per cent this year, a TD Bank poll suggests. The survey, released Monday, also indicates that investors intend to shift to more conservative assets, and have scaled back the size of the nest egg they feel they need to fund a comfortable retirement. ‘‘There is just a real lack of focus on a long-term perspective, rather than the short term in what’s gone on in the equity markets over the last three years,’’ said Patricia Lovett-Reid, a vice-president of TD Wealth Management. ‘‘The consequences are maybe not being able to sustain the lifestyle that you’re comfortable in.’’ Respondents to the November survey who plan to make RRSP contributions said they’ll invest an average of $3,900 this year — down by one-fifth from last year’s average of $4,850. And 26 per cent said they’ll invest in stock-market mutual funds, down from 48 per cent who chose equity funds in last year’s survey. Individual stocks were an investment choice for 16 per cent of respondents, down from 31 per cent last year. The survey found that the investment portfolio respondents thought they would need for a comfortable retirement averaged $547,000, down from $652,000 a year ago. ‘‘It is quite interesting that people have revised their retirement needs downwards by more than 15 per cent, just as their portfolio has suffered a similar reduction in value,’’ commented Moshe Milevsky, a York University finance professor. ‘‘But what is slightly more alarming is that investors are reducing their contributions to equity-based mutual funds, at a time when market experience and conventional wisdom would dictate they shouldn’t.’’ The anticipated shift to smaller contributions into more conservative RRSP investments is counterproductive, Lovett-Reid said. ‘‘Sure, in the short term stocks are going to be riskier than fixed income, we know that. But after inflation, fixed income doesn’t guarantee fixed purchasing power.’’ Lovett-Reid said survey respondents gave several reasons for reducing their RRSP contributions, including a lack of surplus income and a perception that retirement saving is not a priority. A disaffection with stock markets is understandable: the benchmark Toronto Stock Exchange index fell 14 per cent in 2002 for the second year in a row, while Wall Street’s Dow Jones industrial average fell 16.8 per cent in its third straight losing year.