The savvy investor’s guide to RRSPs

Whether you’re just starting out, or in the final sprint toward retirement, we have some age specific advice to help you squeeze more into your savings

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From the February/March 2016 issue of the magazine.

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Ask advisors for their top retirement savings tip and chances are you’ll hear the following: Set a goal and stick with it. Sounds simple enough, right? What they don’t tell you is that life often gets in the way of a well thought-out plan. The reality is, your financial objectives will require constant adjustments as you get older. The way twenty-somethings think of retirement will change significantly once they hit their 30s. Similarly, a 40-year-old who’s getting closer to the golden years will have different priorities than a 50- or 60-year-old who’s in the final sprint.

Complicating things further is that in today’s world of low interest rates, robo-advisors and tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), decades-old savings rules are no longer applicable. Is the RRSP still the best long-term savings vehicle for Canadians? Hard to say. Are traditional investment firms better than these newfangled robo-advisors? It depends. Should you invest more in bonds as you age? Not necessarily.

So what are Canadian savers supposed to do? We tackle that question in our annual RRSP guide. We’ve spoken to people at various stages of life—20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s—to find out what RRSP-related concerns matter most to them today. And we’ve talked to advisors to get some age-specific savings advice to help you squeeze a little more into your investment accounts.

For planning puposes, you can contribute up to 18% of your earned income to a maximum of $25,370 on your 2016 tax return, plus more if you have unused contribution room from previous years. (Your contribution room is reduced if you’re paying into a pension plan or deferred profit sharing plan through your employer.) Don’t have that kind of money lying around? Not to worry—even a much smaller RRSP contribution is still beneficial. If you’re as confused as most other Canadians are about the best ways to maximize the benefits of RRSPs, relax, take a deep breath and keep on reading. Chances are you’re already doing lots of the right things to help you reach a happy retirement.

RRSPs in your 20s: Focus on fees »

RRSPs in your 30s: Priority planning »

RRSPs in your 40s: The asset allocation question »

RRSPs in your 50s/60s: The consolidation consortium »


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