An RRSP is not a Retirement Plan

RRSP RefundThere is a pre-conceived idea that an RRSP account is your retirement plan. That all your hard-earned savings should go towards it. The financial institutions surely advertise it that way. For many, it may be the only retirement account they will have but for anyone wanting to take control of their finances and retirement, you will need to look at it as an account with tax-free advantages amongst all your other accounts.

In a previous post, I have discussed the most popular accounts that are used for investing and you will notice that the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) come at the top of my list. The main reason is that it is completely tax-free. There are no fees or taxes to be paid for withdrawing from it and you pay no taxes on the money you make inside of it. Imagine if you are 20 now, by the time you are 30, you’ll be able to put $50,000 dollars and make it grow tax-free. Depending on when your retirement target is, you may have contribution room for nearly $200,000. When you consider the TFSA account, a retirement plan is not based on an RRSP account anymore.

Even before the TFSA account was introduced, an RRSP account should not be looked at as a retirement plan. I take the time to educate co-workers and friends when this idea is mentioned. Not that investing in an RRSP is discourage, but rather that an RRSP alone is not a retirement plan. A retirement plan should include all your accounts and take into consideration the tax implications of your investment at the time you plan on retiring. More specifically, an investor needs to understand the following tax implications within all of their accounts:

It should also take into consideration your company retirement plan if you have one. The public sector has a very good retirement plan for their employees, provided you are happy to work for 30 years. These investors may never need to use their RRSP since it is part of the retirement plan depending on how it is set up.

Most of all, YOU need to define how you want your retirement to be. WHERE do you see yourself. SET GOALS towards a retirement plan. Are you going to retire on a shoestring budget? Or are you going to manage dozen of properties? YOUR AMBITIONS will guide your planning and goals.

Some thoughts to challenge investing in an RRSP account:

  • If you plan on buying a few stocks and retain them for 20 years, what are the tax savings the RRSP account provide you with?
  • If you buy dividend paying stock, do you save in the end when you withdraw the money? You definitely leverage tax-free growth on tax efficient dividends, but how much taxes will you pay on it when it comes time to withdraw it.

Consider all your accounts for your retirement plan and not just your RRSP account. Each type of account has a purpose and can work together. I may not seem interested in an RRSP account from this post, but most of my wealth is in my RRSP account at the moment because it is beneficial as my company has a matching contribution plan. However, I have nearly $100,000 in unused contribution room and filling that gap is not a goal of mine at the moment. Having contribution room can actually be useful at some point…

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