When most working Canadians hear "RRSP," they think of their retirement savings. Or maybe even a nice winter home on the shores of sunny Florida. However, a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is more than just a retirement savings plan. It also has an impact on your tax obligation and can save you hard earned dollars come tax time.
The first major financial deadline of 2016 is February 29. This is the last day you can make a contribution to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and claim the contribution on your 2015 tax return. You still have the first 60 days to make contributions but with the leap year, the deadline is midnight at the end of the month.
It's February, folks, and you know what that means. Taxes... Yeah, yeah, Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, 2016 leap year and all that. But it's also the time of year when people wake up to the fact that, oh crap, tax deadlines are looming, and that they better get their act together to reduce their tax bill -- not to mention their stress level.
With only about one third of Canadians making an RRSP contribution according to the Sun Life Annual Check-up Survey, make this year the year that you start to reap the benefits of your RRSP. Top up your RRSP before March 3 and make an appointment with your advisor to plan how best to invest your tax refund (or tax savings). Your tan may suffer but your net worth will thank you.
The average Canadian millennial is saddled with debt thanks to unemployment and rising tuition costs. According to the Canadian Federation of Students, students in Ontario and the Maritimes average over $28,000 in debt. If you're in this position, focus on paying off all your debt first, while putting a small amount into your RRSP.
Each year you are required to take out a portion of your savings from your RRIF, which is subject to tax, but there's no limit on how much you can withdraw. In addition you can name your spouse as a beneficiary, so RRIF assets can be transferred to your spouses' RRIF or RRSP on your death. You can't keep your savings in an RRSP forever.