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Book Giveaway: RRSP’s

Preet Banerjee has been very generous to bloggers in giving away free copies of his new book to readers.  For MDJ readers, Preet has offered to give away 5 copies of his new book RRSP's.

Here's a snippet of the book review that I wrote: 

..This book starts off with explaining the basics of RRSP's and how to calculate your tax return based on your RRSP contribution.  From there, it moves onto 41 RRSP based strategies from basic to more complex. 

Even though I've done quite a bit of research on RRSP's, I have learned a few things from this book, especially with the detailed scenario comparisons.

How to enter:

  • Simply leave a comment in this post about your RRSP strategy (even if you don't have one).
  • Be the TOP comment contributor in Feb 2008, and you'll receive a free copy. 

The Rules:

  • 1 copy will be given to what I think is the best comment.
  • 3 copies will be drawn at random.
  • 1 copy will be given to the top commentator of Feb 2008 (standings in the right sidebar)
  • Please only 1 comment entry / person (please enter a valid email address).
  • Only those with a Canadian mailing address will get free shipping (publisher rules, sorry).

Deadline: 

  • Contest for the first 4 copies will end Friday 5pm EST Feb 8, 2008.
  • Top commentator of Feb 2008 will be determined at the end of Feb.

Good luck!

Update:  Contest is now closed. 

-> If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free newsletter service below (we will not spam you).

FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jeff February 5, 2008, 8:07 am

    This is my first time commenting on a blog – I just found your blog about a week ago, and have read through pretty much all your archives now.

    My RRSP strategy is pretty much non-existent at the moment. I have one of the best work pensions available in Canada, so we put all our extra money into our mortgage. My wife and I took out a $350,000 25 year mortgage to build our dream house this past summer, but we plan on paying it off in 5 years, at which time we’ll start working on our RRSP’s. Once we start contributing to RRSP’s, I will most likely invest the same as I do for our son’s RESP, which is following a slightly modified version of Money Sense’s global couch potato method:

    25% in TD-efunds Canadian bond index (TDB909)
    25% in TD-efunds Canadian index (TDB900)
    25% in TD-efunds US index (TDB902)
    25% in TD-efunds International index (TDB911)

  • Michelle Dawn February 5, 2008, 8:20 am

    My RRSP Strategy:

    1. Win this book.
    2. Read it word for word.
    3. Learn from the RRSP strategies of fellow bloggers.
    4. Implement necessary changes.
    5. Reevaluate periodically.

    Trust me, if anyone NEEDS this book it is ME! I’m 28 and up until last year I thought RRSPs had something to do with wedding invites. The past year has brought monumental money management shifts for me. I started living frugally, paid off more debt than the last three years combined and began soaking up as much info about PF as possible. RRSPs are my next big challenge!

  • Mark February 5, 2008, 8:30 am

    RRSP strategy?

    Contribute.

  • Al x February 5, 2008, 8:30 am

    My fiance and I are buying our first house as well. I’ve just made a spousal RRSP contribution as she is in a lower bracket. My question is are you better off using the refund as part of a downpayment, or putting it in back into your RRSP. I’ve read the arguments concerning paying your mortgage and contributing to an RRSP, but what if the refund allows you to reach a CMHC hurdle and drops your mortgage insurance premium? Love to hear some thoughts

  • Investing911 February 5, 2008, 8:50 am

    Take a cash advance on my credit card, dump the proceeds into my RRSP and then live it up off the refund I get when I file my tax return. I need this book!

  • Kevin February 5, 2008, 8:56 am

    RRSP Strategy?
    I don’t have a particular RRSP strategy except to start contributing. I started the uphill battle to right my finances this year. I have a good handle on my debt strategy so far. Next is building my investements. Number one is starting my RRSP.

  • doug February 5, 2008, 9:20 am

    I max out my company’s Group RRSP contributions. The free money they match is hard to turn down!

    In theory I’d love to max out my RRSP every year then reinvest the return. In practice I put as much into the RRSP as I can(usually about 80% of the limit a year) and reinvest half of my return every year. I put most of my RRSP money into index funds, because of the low MER.

    It’s hard to balance saving for the future and saving for a wedding!

  • Eric February 5, 2008, 9:27 am

    My RRSP Strategy?

    Well, I make regular monthly contributions on top of my work pension plan. Starting in March I am going to implement my Barber budget (save at least 10% of my income and relax a little on my day-to-day finances). After reading “The Wealthy Barber” I think I micro manage my day to day finances and have lost sight of my long term goal and that is to retire comfortably.

    I am interested in learning about re-investing my RRSP deduction. Right now I hold it in cash and use it for “life enhancing experiences” (i.e. vacations, home improvements, etc.) – Afterall I need to have some mad money. Maybe my attitude will change after I read the book – If I win ;)

  • Fabulously Broke February 5, 2008, 9:38 am

    1. Just start saving. Any little bit helps.

    2. Maxed out my company RRSP Match (free money!)

    3. Saved more on the side to try and max out my contribution limit

    4. Invest in index mutual funds and other funds (tech ones) that I actually understand

    5. Save money on the side in a savings account (emergency fund) so I don’t have to dip into my RRSPs if anything goes wrong

  • MunEconomist February 5, 2008, 9:57 am

    I don’t have an RRSP.

    Here is my stategy once I get into a higher MTP to make it worth while. That strategy is max out the limit and invest it myself once I know more about investing.

    Right now paying off shool loans before I start my non-registered account. This can be transfered in right? Good God I need to read more about this stuff but I’m only young.

  • Sean February 5, 2008, 10:07 am

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    My RRSP strategy (which I have yet to actually implement, but plan on doing soon – I’m still young thankfully!) is to build a Low MER fund portfolio with TD e-series funds, then convert to ETFs down the line once I have enough capital to make it worth the brokerage fees.

    So, basically – invest in market indices and minimize the fees paid!

  • KC February 5, 2008, 10:12 am

    I’m going to start contributing to my RRSP this year.
    I don’t currently have a strategy. I’ll be developing one after researching and reading.

  • Paul February 5, 2008, 10:13 am

    My RRSP strategy is very conservative:

    80% Laddered 5-year GICs
    20% Mutual Funds

  • dc February 5, 2008, 10:18 am

    My strategy? I’m looking this year at TD eSeries Index Funds. It’d be a first for me, as I currently have only a few RRSP dollars in ‘normal’ mutual funds, and want to go with something more cost effective in terms of management fees, etc. I’m just getting in to investing, so hopefully with some more research I’ll be able to make some good investments!

  • LazyInvestor February 5, 2008, 10:18 am

    My RRSP strategy:
    Max out the contribution each year, put into index fund; use the tax refund to make more contribution next year.

  • Northerner February 5, 2008, 10:29 am

    My strategy is fairly simply…max out contributions at my current age and invest it in high paying dividend stocks in my case, and TD e-funds for my spouse.

  • Dividendgrowth February 5, 2008, 10:42 am

    Wow,

    With the top contributor thing you are opening yourself to spamming of your forums.
    Anyways, even though i live south the border from Canada, i think it might be beneficial to learn something, in case i decide to expand my financial services empire abroad.

  • Kyle February 5, 2008, 10:45 am

    Current strategy is to max out contributions early in the year which is not too difficult as my company’s pension reduces the amount I can contribute. My RRSP is self-guided and holds a number of Canadian dividend stocks and a couple of ETF’s to give me exposure to other markets.

  • Paolo February 5, 2008, 11:09 am

    Twice a month contributions to a group RRSP (and RPP). Contributions are large enough to max out my contribution allowance and I do not require lump sum contributions.

  • Marc February 5, 2008, 11:19 am

    Unfortunately, I don’t really have a strategy at the moment. I’ve been weighing the pay down debt vs. RRSP, and so far, I’ve decided to get rid of my student loans first. After my tax return this year, I’ll have a big chunk of my loans paid off, so then I’ll start looking more serious at my RRSP options.

    I’m new to the RRSP and personal finance world, so I’ll let someone pick it for me to start off with while I catch up on my understanding, then hopefully by next year, I’ll start managing them myself. I could certainly use a copy of this book to get me started :)

  • Ash February 5, 2008, 11:23 am

    My strategy

    1) Max out my RRSP contributions every year. Thats the only money that I get back from the govt :)
    2) Use a self directed RRSP account with a low cost brokerage like Questrade to save on brokerage expenses. They can add up to quite a bit over years. Avoid the BIG BANKS !
    3) Invest in low expense ratio ETFs that follow well established indexes like the Vanguard ETFs.
    4) Follow an Asset Allocation Plan diligently and not get swayed by market ups and downs (I am trying to do that ;))
    5) Visit milliondollarjourney everyday to find out about more ways to save my money.

  • Traciatim February 5, 2008, 11:37 am

    My strategy involves a three tiered approach to my retirement investing. My RRSP plan through work had very limited options. Due to the fact that I have a 37 year time frame I am completely in equities, mixed at about 30% in Canada, 30% in the USA, and then the rest spattered around the world in a strange mix.

    I contibute 6% of my salary, and the companies matches this amount making 12% of my salary contributed here. This is my ‘if this is successful, I will have a very comfortable retirement’ strategy.

    I have opened a ShareOwner Investments account, and as of yet not started my contributions. This is not an RRSP plan, but will be invested in dividend producing stocks of my choice. Possibly later I will transfer this to Questrade (or the then current best option) so I open more fun investments and actual self managed money. This is my ‘If it does ok, I’ll be more than comfortable, if I strike it rich I’ll be wealthy in retirement’ plan.

    The third tier to my strategy is that I play the 6/49 pool at work with a few of my co-workers. This is my ‘Who knows, I might retire next week’ strategy.

    I figure, if any one out of the three strategies are successful, I will be successful. If it so happens that all three fail miserably (I can’t see that happening) then my ‘back up plan’ is live off of OAS, GIS, Allowance, CPP, and my Kids help. I mean, once your house is paid off and you have a couple of people earning on all these plans you can actually live a fine life. Sure, you’re not seeing the world or eating Lobster/Steak dinners every night, but you’re hardly starving to death.

  • DAvid February 5, 2008, 11:40 am

    Currently, I use the contribution when I need it to reduce taxable income across a tax bracket. I have an excellent pension plan, and a comfortable non-registered portfolio.

    DAvid

  • MikeG February 5, 2008, 11:49 am

    Currently my RRSP strategy is simply putting as much as I can into a higher (4.25%) interest rate account. Me and my wife are hoping to buy a home with the Home Buyers Plan in the coming year or two.

    For the future, I’m currently weighing the pros and cons of indexing, etfs and building my own portfolio.. I may do a little of them all.

    -MikeG

  • kenny February 5, 2008, 11:58 am

    Thanks to Preet and MDJ for the book giveaway!

    RRSP strategy? I know I need a better one. My financial knowledge is very limited. I often find myself worrying about where my money is going and if I’m doing the right thing for me and my family.

    It’s simple, I max out my rrsps by contributing to it biweekly. This amount is attainable as my employer’s pension plan reduces the amount that I can contribute. On top of this, I am also putting back extra money into my rrsps to repay the amount I took out for my first house.

    This is the part that’s unknown and scary to me. Currently my rrsps are held in four mutual funds (and my wife has only two funds in her account). Two out of the four funds increase by my biweekly contributions. How do I know that the funds that where picked by my banker are suitable (good long-term performers)? I just recently started looking at the returns about a half a year ago and they do not seem to be performing very well. What sort of returns would I expect on average? I asked my banker and he said that funds are good and that I am investing long term. I’m afraid that when I get close to my retirement years that the funds we picked where a bad decision.

  • DJP February 5, 2008, 11:59 am

    Currently I’m making pre-tax contributions through work and also preauthorized purchases bi-weekly through my bank which totals 10% of my monthly income. All RRSP’s are in various Mutual funds but I’m really feeling the need to be more aggressive with these registered accounts.

    Here’s hoping I win a copy.

    Cheers!

    DP

  • tc February 5, 2008, 12:01 pm

    My RRSP strategy is constantly evolving as I learn more about personal finance. This is my first year in the work force full time and I have lots to learn. Not to say that I’m jumping from individual stocks to mutual funds to index funds, but that I take everything I learn and adjust my strategy accordingly. I aim to start young, contribute the full amount each year (so far so good), and let the time-value of money amaze me. I get an employer match which means that my money is going into a group plan with moderate MER. I’m going to use my annual free transfer from my group plan to switch to TD e-series funds because of their lower cost.

  • P February 5, 2008, 12:03 pm

    Generous offer.

    This year I started contributing to my company plan and I hope to open a personal RRSP soon.

    I am just starting out and I admit learning about it has beenn somewhat overwhelming.

    I don’t have much of a strategy other than research my optionss and then contribute, contribute, contribute. :)

  • MichaelF February 5, 2008, 12:07 pm

    My Strategy:

    Max out each year via:
    1. Company Plan – Company pension contribution – 6%
    2. Company Plan – RRSP contribution – 6%(max)
    3. Company Plan – Matching RRSP contribution – 3.6%
    4. Personal Plan – Top up remaining 2.4% thru monthly contributions to major bank RRSP account.

    MichaelF

  • Aaron February 5, 2008, 12:08 pm

    Since my (financial) life includes my husband, I’ll include his RRSP plan too. His RRSP plan was actually designed by me.

    Amount of contributions
    ———————–
    We are both contributing more than 18% of our wage. As we both have extra contribution room, I divided that extra in 36 parts to pay it off in 3 years. (In some strange way, I kind of think of it as a loan that we have to pay off.) This works out to be for me: 18% wage + $500/month. And for my husband: 18% wage + $700/month. Our workplaces do not provide pensions nor RRSP benefits of any kind.

    RRSP Allocation
    —————
    Because the total value of my RRSP investments are < $100,000, I am do a bi-weekly contribution into TD efunds. My split is: 30% Canadian Index, 20% bond index, 25% US index, and 25% international index.
    My husband has more than $100,000 in his RRSP so he does a monthly contribution into his eTrade account. His allocation is in ETFs:
    20% Canadian Index
    25% American Index
    30% Bond Index (with a split between real and long term bonds)
    5% emerging markets index
    20% international index
    He recently switched away from iShares ETFs.

    We have both completed T1213 forms to reduce income tax from our pay cheques.

    Goals:
    (1) By paying off our mortgage faster, we have reduced the amortization from 30 years to 10 years.
    (2) In 10 years, our total net worth will be enough to sustain us so we don’t have to work! (We will have to sell our house and downsize to apartment …. not a problem.)
    (3) I’m 31 and my husband is 36. Retire in 10 years!

  • Karl February 5, 2008, 12:16 pm

    I think Mark hit it right on the head. Contribute, contribute, contribute…

    Many will argue about the best way to maximize the return on the investment, how to save a little extra here or there, what allocation a person should have, what vehicles to invest in (ETF, index fund, REITs, etc.), but I think for most people just contributing to any cookie-cutter RRSP mutual fund plan at any bank would be a huge improvement over the $0 they are putting away at the moment.

    The real trick is to get them to contribute in the first place… hopefully Preet’s book will encourage at least a few more people to take the plunge into RRSPs.

    As for my personal opinion, like many others here, low cost index funds or ETFs are what I am leaning towards (I’m under 25 and have just started researching all the options available to me). My wife has a cookie-cutter plan from one of the major 5 banks, and whenever I look at it, I wonder why her low risk investments (T-bills, bond funds) are giving a lower return than my high interest savings account… surely I can do better than that with a little bit of effort!!

  • Elizabeth February 5, 2008, 12:18 pm

    My stratefy?
    Dump money into mutual funds on every paycheck…… very uninspired.
    I need this book.

  • Chris February 5, 2008, 12:20 pm

    RRSP Strategy:

    I have a fairly solid Defined Benefit Pension Plan through work and am fairly young, so my RRSP strategy is to max out the remaining contribution room into an international ETF (Vanguard VEU). As the RRSP portion of my portfolio grows I will move into some other funds, but at this point I am investing for the largest long-term returns.

  • Rod Payne February 5, 2008, 12:21 pm

    I don’t have a cent in RRSPs. After working the numbers, for me, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to contribute.

  • Mike February 5, 2008, 12:39 pm

    My RRSP strategy is a balanced fund (which IIRC is 60 percent stocks, 40 percent bonds). I’ve also stopped contributions to it for the time being, so I can invest the money outside RRSPs. But I will start contributing again within the next 2 years.

  • nobleea February 5, 2008, 12:43 pm

    I get the full match at work so that’s 10% (5+5). Once my fiance and I move in together, we should have no problem maxing out both our contributions and putting any extra towards my HBP balance. Hope to have the HBP balance done in a few years, at which point children might be in the picture, which changes the finances a bit!

  • Yuriy February 5, 2008, 12:52 pm

    I didn’t have an RRSP until this year, when our company started Group RSP. I hope the book will help me to create my own strategy. I’m in Canada for several years and just starting to explore investing opportunities. I would like to know also is it really such an advantage to have an RRSP instead of just holding stocks in unregistered account.

  • Craig February 5, 2008, 12:55 pm

    Strategy?

    Contribute as much as possible, keeping it balanced between my RRSP and my wife’s spousal which has less $ than mine and needs to catch up.

    Invest in 33% Inc Trusts, 33% US Dividend achievers, 33% Iunits for the candaian and international markets.

    The canadian Dividend payers are mostly in my non registered…ala Derek Foster.

    Cheers,
    Craig

  • qubikal February 5, 2008, 1:02 pm

    Step 1) Work matches my pension contributions (5+3) and then I top up with spousal RRSP contributions, since the wife didn’t build much herself (she’s in the lower income bracket too)…

    Step 2) Then take the annual free money and pay down the mortgage..

    Step 3) Re-borrow and buy investments (under the Smith Maneuver

    Step 4) Watch my stocks sink in the short term(like today)… and pray that you didn’t make a bad investment

  • Marianne O. February 5, 2008, 1:04 pm

    I’ve just set up self-directed RRSPs through TD Waterhouse (1 in my husband’s name, 1 in mine but spousal i.e. for him), which will use the passive index investing approach. However I’m reading up on dividend reinvestment and may build in a DRIP component as well. Kudos to http://www.thedividendguyblog.com/ for his great intro to the subject.

    Meanwhile, I have no RRSP myself as I’m contributing to a very generous defined-benefit pension plan, while scraping together a 20% down payment on our first house to save the CMHC insurance fee, AND continuing to whittle away at roughly $25,000 in student loans.

    By the way, student-loan holders, I hope you can learn from my mistake. I took out a consolidation loan through my bank at a slightly lower rate including loan insurance. Hey, free life insurance to protect my spouse and two kids, I thought. Then while preparing taxes, I realized that I’m no longer eligible to deduct interest paid on “student” loans, as the consolidation loan was not specified as such. You can bet I’ll be paying this down as fast as possible.

    Thanks again for an interesting blog that keeps us company as we dig our way out of the red.

  • Nate February 5, 2008, 1:07 pm

    My RRSP strategy:

    Company RSP plan will match up to 6% of my income. So I have them deduct 6% off of every paycheck in order to max out what they will match.

    Company also has an Employee Stock Purchase Plan which gives you a 15% discount on the public stock price. Max you are allowed to put into that plan is 10% of your base salary. So twice a year they take the previous 6 months of deductions and purchase company stock for you at a 15% discount of the public market value as of the first or last day of the 6 month window (whichever is lower). The proceeds that I get from that as well as any other bonus through work are split 50% into RSP’s and 50% into debt repayment. Those RSP funds are put into self directed rsp’s with Questrade and ING. In ING I lock them into GIC’s and with Quest I purchase index funds.

    I would like to eventually roll everything into questrade and get rid of ING. But I don’t completely trust them yet. Especially with the bulk of my savings.

  • Janet February 5, 2008, 1:13 pm

    I am only 26 and the information I have is limited on the subject of RRSPs. My strategy thus far has been to maximize my contribution every year and to avoid withdrawing anything until retirement. I am also considering opening my own RRSP trading account so as to maximize returns opposed to leaving them in the lower yielding mutual funds.

  • newinvestor23 February 5, 2008, 1:26 pm

    RRSP Strategy:
    Company matches my contributions (to a maximum of course)
    Get tax refund and start to put it onto my house.
    Put extra $ onto house and start Smith Manouver hopefully soon, investing in dividend DRIPS (which I have already put a little towards).
    A nice balance of both outside and inside RRSP should help to hopefully retire early or early enough.

  • Cam February 5, 2008, 1:36 pm

    automate as much as possible -can’t spend what you don’t see.

  • Frank Conradie February 5, 2008, 1:40 pm

    My RRSP strategy:

    Self-directed investment account, with some US growth stocks, some US and Canadian dividend growers, a Canadian REIT, and a very small portion of small cap speculative stocks.

    Now that we use the SM, I may stop the RRSP contributions for a while, and work on our non-reg portfolio instead, which is all Canadian dividend income.

  • Konstantin February 5, 2008, 1:44 pm

    My RRSP strategy is to contribute up to the annual limit and to create enough balance in order to benefit from the HBP.

    I am only 26 and my RRSP is only 1.5yr old so there is not a lot of $$$ contributed so far…

    Very straightforward but I think it is worth it :)

    This book would help me to find some other productive implementations of RRSP.

  • AD February 5, 2008, 1:48 pm

    No current plans.

    Just starting to learn more about what they are to get a plan in motion.

    Hopefully this book will get me off to a good start.

  • Ringo February 5, 2008, 1:49 pm

    Contribute to several ETFs (XIC, XSP, XIN & XBB) once you know the current year’s RRSP contribution room (don’t wait till next year’s deadline) and see them grow slowly, starting like a small tree for 20 years! Then rest & enjoy the “shades” & “fruits”, hopefully enough for myself & those I care!

    The New Book will be one of my “gardening” handbook. But if you found someone with their RRSP apparently don’t work soundly, I’d happy to see them get the book. Anyway, thank you in advance!

  • Jean-Francois Renaud February 5, 2008, 2:10 pm

    Strategy ….

    Well I am just starting to contribute in RRSPs but reading this blog is helping alot in giving starting point where I can further investigate.

    I just opend a self directed investment account where I plan to buy ETFs and some others stocks but mainly ETFs for now. I think it safer for beginners.

    I also want to say Thank You to MDJ for all the tips and eye openers!!!

  • MoneyMusing February 5, 2008, 2:27 pm

    Since I have a good pension, I’m keeping my RRSP contributions down to an RRSP based high interest savings account.
    But my plan is to do something like the Couch Potato Portfolio from Moneysense only keep it outside the registered account.

    Shameless linking to my investment plan for this year.
    http://dite.ca/money/?p=6

  • walk0080 February 5, 2008, 2:40 pm

    Contribute as much as you can each year!

  • Steve Winters February 5, 2008, 2:42 pm

    My strategy: I contribute monthly a set amount and then quarterly deposit a lump sum of whatever I can handle. I don’t like to wait till the last minute. Better to spread it out and cost dollar average.

  • telefantastik February 5, 2008, 2:54 pm

    Strategy:
    Use RRSP as the fixed-income portion of overall long-term portfolio to take advantage of tax-free interest (non-RRSP is mostly equity). Holdings: laddered bonds and GICs, fixed-income index ETFs (e.g. XBB). Something to try as well: get a monthly-paying GIC on a face amount such that the interest is $100 or over; then set up an automatic purchase plan (PAC) on that same amount to periodically invest into a higher yield/risk fund (maybe even equity). This guarantees your principal, but makes sure interest is compounding at a potentially much higher rate.

  • Jason R. February 5, 2008, 2:57 pm

    I live in Victoria BC, and my current RRSP strategy involves contributing to both my and my wife’s plan up to $20K each which we will use for a first time homebuyer’s loan. All the rest I’m saving like mad for a down payment to offset the massive price of even the smallest dump house in Victoria.

    After that we’ll see how much we can afford given our mortgage size – at least we should be paying back the RRSP loan so we’ll have something.

    Or maybe we’ll just rent forever in which case we may even be able to afford to continue saving in an RRSP.

  • Jesus February 5, 2008, 2:59 pm

    Equal monthly contributions

  • Mike February 5, 2008, 3:25 pm

    I contribute every week. I should be close to my max by the time the end of Feb rolls around. I then top it off with a small RRSP loan and pay that off with the refund.

  • Roxanne February 5, 2008, 3:28 pm

    My RRSP strategy is under review after reading many comments over the last few months on this and other blogs…That said, I contribute to my pension as it is matched and top up with $200/month in an RRSP. My husband does the same. I am debating pulling the $400/m out and paying down the house faster. Refunds are usually not very high, and we need to get in the habit of dumping them back into the mortgage. This book would help in the decision making.

  • JME February 5, 2008, 3:45 pm

    Lump sum once a year…..
    (those other comments are good, so I am hoping for a little random luck)

  • Jordan February 5, 2008, 3:53 pm

    I make small regular contributions. I use the refund to help reduce my student loan – I want to get rid of that monthly payment. Once that is gone I’ll have more to pay down on my mortgage.

  • Digger February 5, 2008, 3:56 pm

    I figuire that my company pension plan will provide at least half of the retirement income that I need. At present we are paying down the mortgage and investing in dividend stocks so that eventually the dividends coming in would account for the other half of the income that we need. That way we would not have to touch the ‘principle’ (stocks owned) but could live off of the ‘interest’ (dividends).

  • Christine February 5, 2008, 4:47 pm

    I just started a spousal RRSP this year as I’m in a much lower bracket than my common-law partner.

    As we still keep our finances separate, he will calculate what percentage of his refund is due to my deposit, and then give that to me: which I’ll then put back into the RRSP.

    Learning bit by bit!

  • Dom February 5, 2008, 5:15 pm

    My strategy:

    1. Contribute to the maximum allowed and early (I had my *2008* contribution done already)
    2. I have both RRSP and non-RRSP self-directed investment accounts. I invest only in stocks after thorough analyses. I hold less than 10 stocks. If I don’t find good investment opportunities, which isn’t likely, I stay in cash.
    3. I put my stocks into these 2 accounts according to the tax benefits in each. For the NON-RRSP acct, I buy mostly canadian dividend-paying stocks and hold for long-term to get the dividend tax benefits and minimize capital gains. Financial companies usually fit this bill. For the RRSP account, my selections tend to be more short-term oriented since there’s no capital gain tax. I look forward to the day when my brokerage allows holding USD balance like questrade does (if not, I will switch to the latter eventually).
    4. I hold only stocks because this asset class provides the best returns over the long-term. The higher perceived risks can be minimized by careful analyses and by holding for the long-term.
    5. Minimize friction costs. Use few accounts at brokerages with low minimum balance requirements, trade sparsely, watch out for exchange rate spreads.
    6. If one is not capable or not willing to spend the time to research individual stocks, it’s best for them to invest in index funds only. Index funds beat most of the actively-managed funds over the long-term anyways. If one is not good at picking stocks, he/she won’t do any better picking mutual funds. The abovementioned tax considerations remain.

  • David February 5, 2008, 5:34 pm

    I automatically transfer money into my RRSP every two weeks. Once a month or so I check the total cash in there and decide what to buy. Assuming that I buy a dividend paying stock, I ensure they have a DRIP program so that I can get a little more each month.

    Ultimately my RRSP plan is to let the magic of compound interest fund my retirement.

  • Shannon February 5, 2008, 5:36 pm

    My strategy at this point is to continue paying into both my work RRSP as well as my husbands work. I also need to pay back (sooner rather than later) the RRSP $ we used for first time homebuyer. Now that I’ve hit the big 3-0 I need to think about the future more even if it means cutting back in other areas of spending.

  • Mikel February 5, 2008, 7:06 pm

    I had built up ~20K in an RRSP that i then “borrowed” to finance a down payment on my home that i bought for $180K in 2003. That home is now worth ~300K and I am paying back the rrsp “loan” yearly. I turned 20k of retirement money into over 100K in 2 years by simply moving it to a different asset class.

    I also have pension from work but it is a DC plan. they do matching so i contribute 6% and they throw in 4% for a 10% yearly deposit. This sits in Balanced funds.

    Then i use my pay back RRSP money in a TD Waterhouse SDRSP. i have this invested in two things that all canadians love. Coffee (THI.TO) and Gold (IMG) risky yes? but why not?!

  • Brad Davis February 5, 2008, 7:11 pm

    1. Automatic RRSP contributions
    2. Invested in low cost, passive instruments (mostly ETF’s).
    3. Globally diversified with a value/small cap tilt.

  • Rodney Shupe February 5, 2008, 7:27 pm

    Well up to this point I haven’t had a strategy that has worked well. My portfolio is barely above what I have contributed.

    I am looking to change that and this book could be a good stepping stone.

  • jpohl February 5, 2008, 7:30 pm

    You mean rrsp’s aren’t about wedding invitations? (-:
    I plan to run with the good advice I’ve recently gleaned from MDJ and set up a split spousal account with my husband. I plan to learn all I can about personal finance and investing from blogs, books and dummies guides (at least to the point before it becomes counter productive).

    I’m trying to decide between the RBC and TD, but I’m leaning towards mutual funds though TD e-funds. I will continue my love affair with painting, and make enough each year for the next 25 years (even if I have to paint while my babies sleep) or so to maximize our rrsps under my much lower tax bracket. I will get over all romantic notions of being a starving artist, be able to take of my children, and pass on good advice to other creative people afraid of financial success and selling out. The average artist is Canada lives way below the poverty line, so I figure turning 15 thousand a year into possibly more than a 100,000 income a year is a pretty good deal. Then I will retire somewhere wonderful, travel and keep painting.

  • Susan Kishner February 5, 2008, 7:37 pm

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Susan Kishner

  • Cross the River February 5, 2008, 7:40 pm

    As we get our T-4’s late in February, Only then do we know how much tax needs to be paid (or not). Since we don’t have much time to chose where to put our contributions, we just park them into an ING RRSP savings account and transfer them when we’ve decided what to do.

  • Mike February 5, 2008, 7:50 pm

    My tip, simplicity! RRSP’s are not a magic bullet to comfortable retirement but they do provide an important weapon in your arsenal. So to use them appropriately you need to consider their advantages over other investments.

    Their biggest benefits are tax free growth, and a deferral of tax payments to a time when your in a lower tax bracket, i.e. retirement. So, that in mind you want to start early and invest conservatively. Let compounding interest work in your favor with in a proven, mid range return portfolio. If you want to take risks, take them elsewhere. No need to flush the benefits of RRSP growth down the toilet with poor performing investments.

  • table February 5, 2008, 7:52 pm

    1. My company offers a group RRSP plan with a well known mutual fund company. To be honest, the performance on those funds aren’t great but it’s free money so to speak.

    2. Yearly bonus and tax returns are put into RRSP as well.

    WIth those three sources combine, it comes close to meeting my contribution limit. The company RRSP has a set portfolio allocation so it’s left alone to do its thing. The lump sump contributions are put into a money market fund first and transferred later when I see something I like.

    This way, I don’t have to think too hard, too often about my contributions (leave it, forget it and let it ride out the volatility).

  • The Reverend February 5, 2008, 8:46 pm

    Here’s what my wife and I do:

    1. Max out employer matched dc pensions (12.5% and 10% respectively)
    2. Each top up RRSPs to defer 18% of salary using RRSPs.
    3. We’re 25 and 26, so we invest primarily in Agressive AA funds. Relatively low MERs in group plans, non group plan has average MER. Hope to open a low cost brokerage account once we have enough assets to make it worthwhile.
    4. Use annual bonuses (0% to 10%) as lump sum contribution to draw down unused RRSP room from year’s past.
    5. Give 10% of refund to charity.
    6. Use other 90% of refund to pay down debt (Manulife One mortgage)
    7. Repeat

    As our contribution room disipates we’ll start using the bonus to pay down mortgage and then use SM to invest in some iShares or other etfs.

  • simplo February 5, 2008, 8:52 pm

    My company offers a matching RRSP which I contribute to the max. I then max out my and my wife’s RRSP contributions every year putting money into TD eFunds. Once we get enough in those accounts so we don’t have to pay the annual fee, I will transfer them to a brokerage account and start buying ETFs.

  • djstef February 5, 2008, 9:00 pm

    Couch patato using eFunds from TD. Try to max out contribution room every year for me, and use the max from my company match.

  • George February 5, 2008, 9:28 pm

    My RRSP strategy is dead simple: it’s a basic couch potato portfolio (1/3 Canadian Index, 1/3 S&P500 Index, 1/3 Canadian Bond Index). I’ve maxed out my contribution for 2007, and as soon as I find out my limit for 2008 I’ll be contributing again. I generally contribute biweekly, and try to contribute to whichever fund has the lowest balance, to keep the asset allocation the same.

    I’ve also got a kick-ass pension from work, so my RRSP goal is to have enough cash to fund an early retirement. :-)

  • dustin February 5, 2008, 10:04 pm

    RRSPs are often difficult for those people who are in the low income bracket. For those people, the return on investment is not worth it it my opinion. They are much better off paying any debts that they have before even considering a rrsp. Otherwise the compounded interest they paid on their debts outweigh any beneifts of compounded returns in their RRSP.

    However, those in the higher tax bracket…this is a good way to get “free” and guaranteed returns. What do you consider a higher tax bracket is up to the individual. Number crunching is necessary to determine the best route. But generally, instead of using the 10% rule for savingss, if you can save 18% off of your gross every paycheck, you are in for a wonderful surprise at tax time.

    For those with group pensions from work…they may want to consider the Smith Manouvre or investments outside the rrsp.

    jmo

  • Cannon_fodder February 5, 2008, 10:19 pm

    My wife and I put the maximum into our work RRSP to get matching contributions but don’t contribute more than that. This is because the funds that are available are quite limited and have mediocre MER’s.

    Since we’ve been together, we’ve maxed out our contributions, but because I came into the relationship with a lot more than she did, I contribute to spousal RRSP’s for both work and our self-directed ones. Thus, except for what it takes to get the company’s matching portion, I do not contribute to my own RRSP’s.

    Our RRSP make up has much higher foreign content since the rules were relaxed and we have a high proportion of equities because of our time horizon.

    Even though I submit a form to CCRA every year to ask them to reduce tax withheld at source, I still receive a substantial refund. We then take our refund and either contribute it to: our mortgage; our RRSP’s; or our RESP’s that we have set up for the 3 kids.

    I know that not many families are able to do what we can do so we consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate.

    Don’t forget to work with CCRA to reduce taxes withheld – why give the government an interest free loan of YOUR money?

  • gal on a mission February 5, 2008, 10:48 pm

    My RRSP strategy has been to start contributing as much as I am allowed in my first few years out of university. I’m 26 years old, hard working, unattached and I keep my expenses in check. I have over 20 000 in my RRSP (3 mutual funds) right now, as well as long term savings outside the RRSP. It’s a good time to save, I have the freedom to seek out employment in different parts of the world and I don’t have children, a car, a mortgage or expensive rent to worry about.

    So I guess my strategy is using compound interest to my advantage.

  • Deborah February 5, 2008, 11:08 pm

    Mine is simple, and I am sure over the next year or even few years will prove to be superior. My strategy is capital protection as in safe government guaranteed investment certificates.

    I have enough in my RRSP that it would not be government insured in a single bank, so I have it in two. I am getting 4.5% guaranteed.

    I am still almost twenty years from retirement and I’ve managed to increase my RRSP to more than 5 times the median and twice the average amount Canadians have in their RRSPs. http://ca.pfinance.yahoo.com/ca_finance_general/478/the-all-canadian-wealth-test I got there by investing in stocks when investing in stocks was a good idea. It isn’t now, wealth protection and safe investments is the way to go now and I suspect will be for a while.

  • Kevin February 5, 2008, 11:28 pm

    Still learning – no strategy as of yet!

  • Josh February 6, 2008, 12:04 am

    Honestly, I have no RRSP strategy. But I’ve been reading like crazy on a hundred different blogs, reading books, and subscribing to RSS feeds! This book will give me more insite into how RRSP accounts work and might be something I use. Sorry to be sweet and simple, but that’s life.

  • Michael_S February 6, 2008, 12:38 am

    I contribute $150 / month to Spousal RRSP. Through my employeer Pension plan, 2% of gross salary goes to RRSP plan, + 5% from employeer. This plan is in my own name.

  • Little Ms.Scrooge February 6, 2008, 1:26 am

    And I thought I was confused?!! After reading all the above commnents I realise that what I thought I knew about RRSP strategies was a big fat zero. Help!! The financial swamp is sucking me in !! I have just made a small contribution to ’07 RRSP (my first) and still have plenty of room. I am in the middle of a gut wrenching, head splitting analysis of maximum contribution vs pay off debt vs travel to visit family half way across the globe(It has been 3+ years since I went). Which ever way I look there are options, options and more options and I am no where near a decision. You cannot call that a strategy but it definitely is making me read a lot more.

  • Mike February 6, 2008, 2:03 am

    I really don’t have a terrific strategy. I saved some money each year and put some away into RRSP’s. I would love to learn more about the basics or RRSP’s because my friends think that I know it, but really I have no clear idea. HELP……

  • James February 6, 2008, 3:45 am

    Probably in the vast minority here, but I don’t use an RRSP.
    I have a RPP at work that I do contribute to as it is mandatory and the employer matches dollar for dollar.
    I invest my own money in individual dividend paying stocks outside rrsp.
    Maybe I need to review this book to convince me why I should be investing inside an rrsp. No one has been able to convince me yet, I’d love to read this book and be convinced so I can stop deabating people who seem determined to get me into an rrsp.
    thanks

  • realinvestor February 6, 2008, 1:49 pm

    Hmmm…

    I have been trying to avoid RRSP since
    1) My pension is defined benefit plan (with no additional room)
    2) Loaning to invest a better tax strategy…

    With the table of contents provided I am sure I am going to learn something new with this book

  • FearLES February 6, 2008, 2:19 pm

    1) 10k in a real estate investment that returns 8% plus a share of the profits after 4 years
    2) Royal Bank Canadian Equities fund that I will change over to an index fund.
    3) time for the investments to grow

  • Brian February 6, 2008, 2:44 pm

    My strategy had been to take advantage of my workplace contribution matching RRSP program to the maximum allowable, and top up to my allowable RRSP limit via a pre authorized, automated, self directed eTrade RRSP account. Savings held in a ING account.

    Smith manouvre being done through ManuOne, investing in mutual funds.

    Looking to change this to something like: invest though work RRSP matching, then the rest of the money including smith funds would go into dividend paying stocks picked from the dividend achievers list, in recession resistant industries, market leaders, selling at a discount and on Canadian stock exchanges.

    Derek Fosters “stop working” book has had an influence on me, but now some details need to be filled in relating to the smith manouvre, paying off the house, and the ratio of RRSP investments to dividend returning stocks.

  • bucks14 February 6, 2008, 4:54 pm

    Like others, I’m am in need of a strategy.

  • TKO from Ontario February 6, 2008, 5:19 pm

    Timing of this post is AWSOME!

    TKO’S Strategy consists weekly purchase of Lotto 649:

    1 Play for Jackpots < $10 M
    2 Plays for Jackpots < $20 M
    3 Plays for Jackpots < $30 M

    “You can’t win if you don’t play”.

    TKO’s backup plan includes a Greeters Bib at Walmart.

    Cheers to your financial health,

    TKO from Ontario

  • DividendNewbie February 7, 2008, 11:42 am

    Use Index Funds in a discount brokerage RRSP account.
    Use DRIPs in a non-RRSP account.

    Reason for Index Funds: Provide diversification while I build my Dividend paying stock holdings.

    Reason for DRIPs: Since I have 30+ years to retirement I have time to let my holdings grow as I reinvest the dividends into additional units of the stock.

    The other RRSP/retirement plan I am still running the numbers on is RRSP vs Mortgage. We’d like to pay down the mortgage ASAP to allow us to put more money into the RRSP/retirement accounts, but only if it makes long term financial sense. The peace of mind of having the mortgage paid off is another big plus.

  • mrThree February 7, 2008, 2:51 pm

    I’m currently contributing to a group RRSP such that I’m maximizing my employer’s contribution. It’s not much but as soon as these student loans are done (end of the month) I plan on splitting up 15% of my gross income into index based mutual funds and a brokerage RSP accounts.

    I’m looking at Questrade for the latter.

  • supersocco February 7, 2008, 6:23 pm

    I contribute monthly with automatic deductions from my savings.( Last year, 23% of my gross income ). But after a few years I thought, what if I want to buy a new house? I have almost all my money wrapped up in RRSP’s. Yes, I can take 20K out for a first time buyer, but 20K down payment in Vancouver is pretty much useless, especially if I want to make a down payment of 20-25%. So, lately I have reduced my RRSP contributions for awhile and now contribute more to non-registered accounts. But, I still don’t know if this is the best decision. Help!

  • Matthew Fisher February 7, 2008, 8:30 pm

    RRSP’s have a different meaning to me then most. In my field of work I deal with many people’s lives seeing their goals, dreams, and future. Sadly I see how little most people know about the advantage of RRSP’s. I’m new in my field but since discovering the possibilities, it’s exciting to help my clients discover that they have options and how they can move forward into a positive future financially. My person goals in with RRSP’s still aren’t the clearest as I am still young and learning. I feel this book would not only be of great help to me. But to the people I deal with on a daily basis. After all it’s not about the money it’s about the dreams it helps create. Either way I will be looking forward to reading this book upon release.

  • alice February 7, 2008, 10:48 pm

    I’m in need of a strategy too.

  • PSNA February 7, 2008, 11:08 pm

    I currenlty don’t have an RRSP plan. I am looking into different books to find the best strategy and then to create a plan of action.

  • Eric February 8, 2008, 7:49 am

    My RRSP Strategy:

    Well it has changed over the years….

    1) Back when I first started I used Royal Mutual funds, mostly their balance funds if I recall.

    2) Once out of university working for a high-tech company with a defined pension plan, I would get sacked with a pa (Pension adjustment) so it was easy to max out my contributions, and I eventually changed over to a Mutual Fund Broker and bought some high-risk mutual funds
    (Resources) as I had the company defined pension plan using up most of my contribution room as a sold base.

    3) Once my Mutual fun Broker started having kids and focusing more on family than investments, I took over managing it myself as a self-directed RRSP at TD, with a few banks stocks and mostly index funds, cashing out the resource funds into a more stable Cdn equity fund.

    4) Leaving the high-tech company and having no defined pension, my contribution room increased and I started investing more into high-tech stocks, and high-tech mutual funds (in the dot boom and took a bath).

    5) After that to consolidate all my accounts and to add some checks & balances to my investments I consolidated all my accounts with a full fee broker (Merill-Lynch -> bought out by CIBC). Changed the strategy to mostly good “value” dividend paying funds as the core (after getting burned on the tech stuff).

    6) Once my wife got laid off, it went on hold for a siesta for 5 years, with basically year-end lump sum contributions with what I could scrap up at the time (or sell taxed investments from previous years savings.) The funds would mostly add to the existing base of funds I already had.

    7) Now that she is back at work and the kids are older, we both started up contributing as much as we
    could, as we bought had built up spare head-room to self-directed RRSPs.

    Both my wife and me don’t current work for a company with a pension plans so we contribute to self-directed RRSPs. I was doing 1600 monthly and her 600 bi-weekly. We found it
    was cramping our budget/life-style too much as we wanted cash to live for today as well (take the kids to
    Disney, etc..) so we backed it off to 800 monthly each. (1600 total each month for the family)

    We both now use the same full-service broker and have not been overly pleased with his advice, mostly has us in mutual funds (obviously paying him a trailer) and he now has another company he bought and seems more focused on developing it, than his client base portfolios, so I’m considering consolidating back to TD self-directed and managing it myself again (all in dividend stock, no funds), cheap 9.99 brokerage fees as I over the 100,000 mask. We were considering socking more at our mortgage but
    he convinced us to up our RRSP contributions, and use the refund to throw at the mortgage. This will be the first year we do that.

    Maybe after reading the book I’ll change my mind!!!

    Lately I have focused mostly on buying good bank stocks, utility companies, pipelines, etc with solid dividends. (Some busts like Loblaws).

    Sorry to be so long winded…

    Eric

  • Commander T February 8, 2008, 11:45 am

    I am still in University, so I haven’t had the funds available to really start my RRSP strategy. However in my first year of university I really showed my ignorance by purchasing a Principle Protected Note from CIBC. CIBC will not tell me how this note is doing for me so I am crossing my fingers and hoping I will get something more then the 500 I put into the investment (I will find out Dec. 2008). I have learned a lot about investing and I will never make another investment into a PPN

    My RRSP strategy once I finish up my education will probably consist of ETF’s. Since I am very young, I will probably start out with 100% equities. My geographical diversification will probably be 25% Canadian 40% American, 35% International.

  • Cheryl February 8, 2008, 12:51 pm

    I don’t currently have a RRSP strategy but I plan on using my tax return this year to start.

  • Den February 8, 2008, 1:00 pm

    The current strategy is smallish bi-weekly payments through my employer into a mutual fund while I concentrate on accelerating the mortgage.

  • Jamie February 8, 2008, 2:01 pm

    My RRSP strategy is quite simple. I contribute the maximum amount each year and contributions are made directly by my employer each time I am paid (they also match). It is invested in a well-balanced mix of index funds which I rebalance quarterly. Because the money never actually hits my bank account, I don’t feel like I’m missing it and it doesn’t take much effort for me to keep track of it. Simple & easy works best for me.

  • James February 8, 2008, 2:03 pm

    I like books. Sign me up!

  • ST February 8, 2008, 2:08 pm

    My strategy is first to come up with a strategy! And then…to stick with it! I found that having a child is what is took to get me to start planning for the future. We’ve invested in RRSPs here and there but never consistently. I am self-employed and my husband’s company does not match contributions — so we have not had any of those nice perks that seem to motivate many people’s contributions.

    Over the past few months I’ve started reading up on various theories (such as the couch potato strategy). I’m eager to get started but if anything I now feel more confused than ever. I am skeptical of all of the marketing from banks and other financial institutions and wonder if they really have my best interests at heart. I am even questioning mutual funds as a whole. I want my money to work for me as hard as it can, but where do I start? I have a grasp of the basics now but even with the couch potato strategy I still feel at a loss as to which low MER options are really the best and how to go from where we are today to that approach. And what emphasis should I place on RRSPs vs. paying off the mortgage early?

    On top of that, there is the need to consider education costs for kids in addition to retirement and the rules on RESPs changed last year just to make things more confusing!

  • Sebastian February 8, 2008, 2:53 pm

    I’m new to the country, and RRSP’s. I would love to get hold of some reading material to give me an idea of the best strategies to keep my wealth secure and hopefully bring in some interest. Im wary in these volatile markets and bearish looking stock market!

    Many thanks!

  • Abe February 8, 2008, 3:14 pm

    My strategy is to sell 50% of my holdings in my RRSP every time the market reaches a top (when all my watch list goes all green) and buy them back again when the market tanks i.e. (when my watch list goes all red). I plan to do this every 3 month to avoid redempetion fees. My RRSP account is with ING direct.
    This has worked very well so far in this side ways market.

  • dropby February 8, 2008, 5:55 pm

    We simply max out the contribution limit every year so our family now has more than $200,000 in our RRSP accounts. The problem is that we did not manage the money very well so the grouth is very disappointing. I hope this book could help us out.

  • Senk February 8, 2008, 6:18 pm

    Thanks for the bood review.