Here are the keys to making the most of your RRSP opportunity.
- Contribute to the max Always make your maximum allowable contribution each taxation year to get the most in immediate tax savings and to maximize the potential long-term growth of your RRSP investments. You’ve still got some time to contribute for 2009 – the deadline is March 1, 2010 – and you’ll find your maximum allowable contribution room on the Notice of Assessment sent to you from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) after filing last year’s income taxes.
- Contribute regularly Making automatic monthly contributions to your RRSP is much more rewarding than contributing a lump sum once a year. Here’s how: By investing $250 regularly each month at a compound rate of return of 8%, you’ll have $372,590 in your retirement nest egg 30 years from now.* But if you wait until the end of each year to invest a $3,000 lump sum, you’ll have only $339,850. By investing monthly, you’ve added $32,740 at retirement without contributing a dollar more.
- Play catch (up) If you have unused contribution room, fill it up as soon as possible for additional tax savings and longer-term tax-deferred, compound growth. You can fill your unused contribution room in a single year or over a number of years until you reach age 71.
- Borrow to save An RRSP loan can be a smart way to maximize this year’s contribution or to play catch up on your past contributions – but you must get the loan at a low interest rate and pay it back as quickly as possible. A best practice: Use your RRSP tax savings to pay off the loan.
- Spousal savings A higher-earning spouse can contribute to an RRSP for the benefit of his or her partner and enjoy a tax reduction on the contributions.
* The rate of return is used only to illustrate the effects of the compound growth rate and is not intended to indicate future returns on investment.