Ask MoneySense: Retirement savings - MoneySense

Ask MoneySense: Retirement savings

Have you heard of the SPP? It’s voluntary and open to all Canadians.


With little faith in the markets, my wife and I are looking for conservative options for our retirement savings. A co-worker told me about the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. I’ve never heard of this before. Do you have any thoughts on that idea?

Dane Praed, Vancouver

The Saskatchewan Pension Plan (SPP) was created by that province’s government, but it’s a voluntary plan open to all Canadians. You can contribute up to $2,500 annually, or transfer up to $10,000 a year from an existing RRSP. Plan members can choose to invest in a balanced fund (60% stocks, 40% bonds) or a money market fund.

If you’re just looking for a conservative place to park your long-term savings, the SPP isn’t the place to start. Anthony Windeyer, a financial planner at Coast Capital Insurance Services in Vancouver, explains that the SPP locks in your assets until you’re 55. “Why would you take money from an RRSP, where you can take it out if you need to, and transfer it to a locked-in account that is highly restrictive?”

Windeyer suggests the SPP is best suited to someone who already has locked-in assets, like a pension from a former employer, and who is looking for a low-cost, turnkey solution. Otherwise, a traditional RRSP offers far more flexibility.

For more on the SPP, read “Canada’s secret pension plan” by MoneySense’s Mark Brown.