In the accounting world, we called our busy season, “Tax Season”. It takes place during the months of March and April and ends on the deadline of April 30th. In the financial world, the equivalent is RRSP Season, culminating on March 1, the deadline to contribute for the previous tax year. This is the time of year that people start to think about taxes, investments and saving money. You may have already seen banks and other financial institutions advertising RRSPs. ‘Tis the season! Are you ready for it?
My friends at RateSupermarket.ca have put together a fantastic resource, a Retirement Savings Guide. It’s free to sign up for it and provides helpful information and tips about everything you need to know about RRSPs. Over a 10 day period, you’ll be sent a series of four emails giving you the facts about RRSPs with the goal of making an often fuzzy subject seem clearer and easier to understand.
© Saving money image via Shutterstock
What is great about this RRSP Guide is that the information is written in easy to understand terms and plain English. Think of these emails like a tool to use to help you in decision making.
I had an RRSP when I was married before. We cashed it out to pay down our marital debt before we divorced. I’m familiar with the basics – or so I thought. It turns out there was several key pieces of information I didn’t know. RateSupermarket.ca’s RRSP Guide gave me a better picture of what they are and how they can benefit me personally. I was on the fence about buying one until I sat down to read the emails. Now, I’m planning to buy one and trying to decide how much to invest and where to go. I desperately need the income tax deduction this year!
I’m turning 40 in a couple years and only recently started thinking about retirement. Yes, I know it may be late, but better late than never, right? Since I’m self-employed and I don’t have an employer pension, I need to consider how I’m going to live in my later years. An RRSP is one of my options.
Check out this eye-opening video about Canadians saving for retirement.
Here’s a bit what you can expect to learn from the RRSP Guide:
- How RRSPs work
- How much you can contribute
- Types of RRSPs
- Instances where you can take money out of an RRSP without taxation
- Tax Benefits
- Difference between an TFSA and RRSP
- Plus lots more.
Like I mentioned, I have a small amount of experience with RRSPs having owned one before and thought I knew the basics. That said, as I was reading everything over, I realized that I still had stuff to learn. Here’s a few quick tidbits I gleaned from the RRSP Guide:
- You can contribute to an RRSP from the age of 18 up until December 31 of the year you turn 71 years old
- There is no limit to how many RRSP accounts you can open
- The only two times you can take money out of an RRSP and avoid taxation is through the Home Buyer’s Plan and the LifeLong Learning Plan
- RRSPs are not an investment on their own and can be compared to a box that shelters anything you put inside it from being taxed.
- RRSPs can hold many types of investments including GICs, Bonds, Mutual Funds, Income Trusts, Corporate Shares, Money Market Funds and TFSAs
- If you start today putting $500 in an RRSP for 20 years at a conservative 5% annual rate of return, you will end up with more than $208,000 in 20 years. (Try this Savings Calculator!)
- RRSPs can be used to bump you into a lower tax bracket if you are on the threshold
The two biggest a-ha moments for me were when I learned how quickly savings can add up over the years AND the analogy that RRSPs are a box that shelters an investment from tax and are not specifically an investment themselves. If I was on the fence about starting an RRSP before, I’m not now. I’m starting one soon so I don’t miss the March 1st deadline.
Sign up for RateSupermarket’s RRSP Guide to receive the lowdown on RRSPs AND enter to win $2,016 for your retirement plan. It’s open to Canada only, excludes Quebec, and ends on February 29th. I think you’ll find the information valuable and insightful and the contest is an added bonus!
Will you be contributing to an RRSP this year?
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.