Shield interest earnings from taxes and put more toward your financial goals.
More Canadians are tuning in to the amazing benefits Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) can offer at various stages in life. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, Canadian’s held a total of $298.1 billion in their TFSAs in 2018—up 7.7% from 2017. By the end of the 2018 tax year, the average TFSA holder had $20,292 in their account.
What is a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and what are the benefits?
The Government of Canada introduced TFSAs in 2009 to give Canadians a way to save throughout their lifetime without being taxed on earned interest—and you can earn a lot from interest from your savings. You can find information about TFSAs, including contribution limits and detailed guides for individuals, on the Government of Canada’s TFSA page.
Unlike other government-registered plans like RRSPs, TFSAs allow you the freedom to take out your funds at any time for whatever you need, without being taxed and you can re-contribute them the following year. This makes TFSAs more flexible to save for financial goals both in the short-term and the long-term.
What are the top three uses for a TFSA?Everyone has unique financial goals and reasons for saving. And almost everyone can benefit from the versatility of a TFSA and the accelerated savings it can offer. Here are the top three uses for a TFSA to consider for your own financial plan:
Saving for specific shorter-term goals.As we mentioned, you can withdraw from your TFSA anytime without having to pay taxes on the withdrawn amount. This flexibility, along with the earnings you get from your interest, make TFSAs a great option for short-term financial goals, such as saving for home renovations, a down payment, purchasing a new car, or taking a vacation. The versatility of TFSAs also makes them a great choice for an emergency fund.
Save for retirement or throughout retirement.A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is your best choice for retirement savings, but if you have maximized your RRSP contribution room, you can complement your RRSP with your TFSA without any tax consequences. A TFSA gives you a second source of funds in retirement that you can withdraw at any time without tax consequences.
This same model applies if you already are retired and don’t need to use all your income from your Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF). You can contribute the excess to a TFSA where your funds can enjoy tax-free growth.
Reduce Your TaxesIf you currently earn interest or other investment income in taxable accounts, consider moving those funds into a TFSA instead. The income you earn will be tax-free, helping your money grow faster (see chart below).
You may also give funds to your spouse or common-law partner, who can use them to contribute to their own TFSA. This can help lower your family’s overall taxes while helping to equalize your future incomes.
Whether you are saving for a short- or long-term goal—or would just like to start saving in general—you can’t go wrong using a TFSA, because you can always withdraw your funds and invest them elsewhere.