retirement planning

RRSPs & TFSAs - What's the Difference ?

Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) were introduced in 2009 and they seem to be struggling to catch on. Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), however, have been around for over fifty years and attract billions of dollars of deposits each year. If you are serious about saving for your future, it is important to know the differences between the two.

While RRSPs and TFSAs seem to be very similar on the surface, they are really apples and kumquats apart. The only similarity is that, within limitations, earnings inside either plan are allowed to grow without current taxation.

What's Your Retirement Planning Mindset?

Recent surveys* reveal that a large majority of so-called Baby Boomers are uncertain about their preparation for retirement. Arguably, the have it my way? generation did not all follow in their parents' footsteps when it came to saving for the future. As well, some major bumps along the way (a housing crisis, a stock market crash and a global financial crisis) have reduced many retirement 'nest eggs.'

Government Benefits Can Boost Retirement Income

In a 2010 report to the Minister of Finance, it was found that approximately 160,000 Canadian seniors were not aware of the full range of benefits they were entitled to in their retirement years. In fact, nearly $1 billion in retirement benefits from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) have not been paid out to eligible recipients.

According to the Service Canada website, seniors may qualify for a number of income supplement programs that would help them make ends meet, including:

Planning Required to Overcome Retirement Obstacles

A bleak picture is painted by the findings of the second annual survey about 'growing into retirement,' commissioned by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Most retirees' outlook has worsened in just one year, and the so-called 'golden years' are beginning to look tarnished. Just one year ago, 39 per cent of Canadians expected to still have debt in retirement; more than half of those questioned now (54 per cent) think that they will not have paid off everything.

Pros and Cons of Annuities

With the turbulent times we have been experiencing in the markets, more people are considering annuities to ensure a certain income in their retirement years. It might not suit everybody to put their funds into annuities, and

there is always the question of what percentage do you want to invest in them, and how much will you leave in the markets? There is no clear-cut answer, and you'll need to weigh your personal circumstances to see how annuities can fit into your retirement plans.

RRSP vs TFSA: Which is Better?

Millions of Canadian make RRSP contributions each year for the sole purpose of getting a big tax refund cheque each spring. If this is your only reason for investing in RRSPs, there may be situations where making RRSP contribution isn't your best option.

With the arrival of the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) in January 2009, Canadians now have a viable alternative to RRSPs when saving for their retirement. Simply put, the TFSA is the mirror-image to an RRSP - you don't get an upfront refund, but all your future withdrawals are 100% tax free.

Proposed Changes to the Canada Pension Plan

On May 25, 2009 Finance Canada announced some proposed changes to how Canada Pension Plan will work.

If approved, the changes will take effect over a period of time from
2011 to 2016, so they will affect anyone planning to retire after 2010.

Below is a brief summary of some of the most important changes:

Early retirement (before age 65) will result in a reduction in CPP benefits by 7.2% per year, which is up from the traditional 6%. This means that if you
begin to take your pension at age 60, your payments will be cut by 36%, not 30%.

Fuzzy Retirement Goals

Retirement funding is a complex machine, with several moving parts. For many Canadians employer pensions and government benefits will make up the core of their retirement income.

A recent RBC survey found 54% of Canadians expect their pension will be the largest source of income, but when asked what kind of pension they have, 19% do not know.

Personal savings, whether in the form of an RRSP or non-registered savings, help pad out the post-career lifestyle, but only 18% of Canadians said personal investments would be their largest single source of income.

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