Thursday, February 15, 2018


An RRSP should be individualized and must fit well within your own personal financial goals. With the upcoming March 1st contribution deadline, here are 10 RRSP tips to remember.

1. Contribute early: Make your contribution as early in the year as possible. Tax-deferred compounding make those early dollars grow dramatically. Contributing early in life and early in the calendar year, both make a positive difference.

2. Contribute the maximum: Take advantage of compounding and get the maximum tax break by contributing your limit. (In respect of 2018, you can contribute 18% of your 2017 earned income, to a maximum of $26,230-less your pension adjustment or past service pension adjustment for 2017). While you can "carry forward" any unused contribution room to subsequent years (until your 71), you can never replace the lost growth opportunity. 

3. Invest Monthly: You might find it easier  to reach your annual RRSP limit by making monthly contributions. Consider having your RRSP contributions automatically deducted from your bank account each month, or consider a Group RRSP and make your RRSP contribution by payroll deduction through your employer. It's also a good idea to increase your monthly contribution if your income rises, and be sure to keep up with inflation. 

4. Contribute to a spousal RRSP: A spousal RRSP allows the spouse with the higher income to contribute to an RRSP owned by the lower-income spouse. (This is an excellent way to income split in retirement and reduce your combined tax rate). The spouse with the higher income takes the immediate tax deduction, but the money in the RRSP should be taxed in the other spouse's hands, usually at a lower rate when it is withdrawn later into retirement.

5. Diversify: By diversifying your portfolio and holding various types of investments, you protect yourself against the day-to-day fluctuations in any one category. To achieve long-term growth you should diversify. Some investors limit themselves to fixed-income investments. The biggest danger with conservative type investments is inflation which can erode your purchasing power. If this sounds like you , consider a small amount of diversifying into growth oriented securities-such as equities and equity mutual funds-to earn returns that can protect you against inflation and provide long-term growth potential. 

6. Resist the dip: There is nothing to stop you from accessing the money in your RRSP, however, you should consider the consequences before dipping into your RRSPs.  First, withdrawals attract tax at your marginal tax rate. Tax withholding at the time off the RRSP withdrawal may be as low as 10%, or as high as 30%-be sure to determine how much more tax you'll have to pay when your file your return. 

Secondly, you cannot restore lost contribution room. The amount you can contribute to an RRSP in your life is limited and a withdrawal erodes some of this potential. 

There are a few circumstances that allow you to access the money in your RRSP without consequence. The Home Guyers Pan and Life Long Learning Plan allow tax-free withdrawals with the ability to re-contribute. However, even in these [lans there is no ability to replace the tax-deferred growth that was lost when you make the withdrawl.

7.  Consolidate your investments: If you don't want to spend a great deal of time managing several plans, you may want to consider consolidating your investments into one portfolio. Yes, you should have a diversified portfolio of investments working for you, but you can usually combine them under one RRSP umbrella. This strategy also means you will get one consolidated statement, which may make it easier to track your plan.

8. Designate a beneficiary: Consider who will be the designated beneficiary for your investments.  Without a designated beneficiary, the account will go through your estate and be subject to probate and other fees. You should talk to us about the tax and other consequences of designating a beneficiary to your RRSP. Who you appoint as beneficiary is also very important, as there are different rues depending on if it is a spouse or other party. ** This strategy does not  apply in Quebec**

9. Get help from an expert: Our advisors at Continuum II inc. are here to help you make the right investment decisions. Together, we should review your plan at least once a year to make sure that your plan is on track with your long-term goals.

10. Have a plan: Investing of any kind, whether in an RRSP or non-registered, is part of a financial plan-but it is important to note that investing itself is not a plan. Contact your Continuum II Inc. advisor today to work your investment strategy into part of a larger financial plan.