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What is RRSP?

Benefits, RRSPs

RRSP stands for Registered Retirement Saving Plan. It is a personal savings plan that allows you to save money for your retirement. It’s meant to supplement your CPP or OAS, and any other pension plans you may have.

Let’s discuss 5 Questions
1. What is an RRSP?
2. How does it work?
3. Why should you use it?
4. How to start using an RRSP?
4. What do I do if. miss the deadline?

1. What is an RRSP?

An RRSP, or Registered Retirement Savings Plan, is a type of investment account that you set up with a financial institution (like a bank) that allows you to save for retirement. It is similar to an RESP, or Registered Education Savings Plan, and to a TFSA, or Tax-Free Savings Account.

Simply put, it acts like your own bank account, where you deposit and make withdrawals from the money you get from salary, investments, or government programs. You can put money in your RRSP in any amount you want. Although you’re not personally liable for penalties if you don’t keep your RRSPs within your contribution limit, penalties can apply to your earning potential if your account starts to grow beyond your contribution limit.

2. How does it work?

They are a great way to save money for retirement because your money goes into the account and is taxed at your regular income tax rate, but when you take the money out in retirement, it will be taxed at a lower rate. When you invest, you’re investing in a specific asset with a preset rate of return. If you take the money out of the account early, you may have to pay capital gains tax.

If you’re new to this concept, your growth in savings will depend on your take-home pay. To find out your take-home pay, use this calculator from, which uses Statistics Canada’s series of surveys from which they calculate your annual gross pay.

3. Why should you use it?

They are a great way to save for retirement. You’re allowed to deduct your contributions from your income for the year. In addition, your savings are not taxed as long as you keep the money in the RRSP. When you withdraw money from your RRSP in retirement, it’s taxed as income.

4. How do I start using an RRSP?

If you are a freelancer, you may have more of a need for an RRSP, but if you want to use it, here is everything you need to know to set one up.

  • To open an RRSP, you first need to open a personal bank account, then set it up on a brokerage account. To find an RRSP custodian, look for one who works exclusively with registered individuals, otherwise known as your spouse, partner, or child (even over 18 in some cases). This person has all the requirements to open an RRSP for you, including a minimum annual deposit of $25,000 (unless you open another type of account; more about that in a sec).
  • Open an RRSP through your bank. After you set it up, make sure you have enough money to cover the investment for the next few years. Depending on your situation, this could mean you need to get a loan, which could put you at greater risk because you’ll likely need to put the money back sooner than you’d like.
  • Once you’re set-up, you’ll receive a direct deposit of your money into your account, which you’ll deposit in your personal checking or savings account. RRSPs are not tax-deductible.

5. What do I do if I miss the deadline?

If you miss the deadline, which is March 1st of each year, the CRA allows you to file for a 6-month extension. The CRA will charge you a $25 fee, but it’s worth it if you need the extra time to save up for your RRSP. This basically makes it easier to save money for retirement in the future.

It has been reported that as of 2018 there are around $36 trillion in investment assets in a total of over 300,000 RRSPs held by Canadians.


This article has discussed 5 questions.

1. What is an RRSP?
1. What is an RRSP?
2. How does it work?
3. Why should you use it?
4. How to start using an RRSP?
4. What do I do if. miss the deadline?

We hope we have been able to shed some light on what RRSPs are. As always, we are happy to help with any questions you still may have! Please contact us to set up a meeting.

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