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The TFSA: Is it right for you?

A TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account) is a savings plan that allows the money (savings or investments like stocks, bonds, guaranteed investment certificates, etc) that you deposit in the plan to grow on a tax-free basis. But be warned: you must be 18 or over in order to contribute to a TFSA.

Advantages of the TFSA

Something you should be aware of is that investment income is generally taxable; that is, you have to pay income tax on the return you have earned. The advantage of the TFSA is precidely that you will not pay any tax on the returns earned with it.

That means that you can let your savings grow, sheltered from tax, in order to achieve a goal, such as taking a trip, starting a business or buying a property.

Maximum

From 2009 to 2012, you could deposit a maximum of $5,000 per year in a TFSA. In 2013 and 2014, the maximum was $5,500 per year. For 2015, the maximum was increased to $10,000.  In 2016 it was brought back to $5,500.

Adults only

Besides having a social insurance number, you must be 18 or over to contribute to a TFSA. You can then open an account and contribute the allowable TFSA contribution room.

A TFSA is not an RRSP

Contrary to the TFSA, the RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) is mainly used to save for retirement. It lets you save on your taxes and is not subject to the same $10,000 annual ceiling as the TFSA.