A Money Coach in Canada

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It’s coming soon: RRSP season. We’ll all get lectures about how we don’t contribute enough (and I kinda sorta gotta chime in *cough* the median ave. BC contribution for 2006 was $3000, slightly above the national average of $2730 *cough*), and feel guilted out and panicked about our meagre portfolios.

And as if that weren’t enough, my combined experience as a money coach and work at the bank tells me pretty clearly – a lot of us Canucks don’t really ‘get’ RRSPs. So here are some 101’s:

1. They’re not something you buy. Seriously. Think of it more like a special kind of account, and anything you put into that account is deducted from your income now, and added to your income later, when you take it out. Hense the tax savings. So you can set up an RRSP account. You cannot ‘buy’ RRSPs. So if you want to sound savvy, don’t call your bank and say ‘I’d like to buy some RRSPs’. Say instead, “I want to contribute to my RRSP (account). ” – and read #2 for the next piece:

2. You can buy stuff to put into your RRSP account.

– you could just put some money into your account and leave it sitting there as cash, doin’ zip.nada.nothin’ in terms of growing in value (but why would you?)

– you could put it into an savings account. Better than having it just sit there as cash, but only just a bit better.

– you could buy term deposits/gic’s (think of them like glorified savings accounts – except you promise the bank you won’t ask for the money, and they in turn favour you with a higher interest rate. Consider Shared World Terms in which the principal is lent out to emerging business people in developing countries)

– you could buy mutual funds (you pool your $ with a bunch of other Canucks, and that pool buys a collection of shares in companies. Consider ethical funds, if you’d like a feel good factor)

– you could buy stocks and bonds of your own choosing (yeah! the DIY plan, of which I’m a huge fan!)

3. They are not always the best thing to do, but saving or investing IS always the best thing. Your financial planner probably won’t ever say not to contribute to your RRSPs, but it’s true. While setting aside money for when you retire is always, always smart, you can do that just by normal savings/investing, without putting it into an RRSP account. Check out “Million Dollar Journey” for a bit more info on this (the post may require some coffee and focus, but it’s good stuff. Note the last paragraphs in particular, and the comments are worth a read too)

If you’d like to learn some more about RRSPs, I’ll happily send you my e-booklet on the topic for free. Just e-mail me (contact at your money by design -all one word- dot come).

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. Thanks for the mention Nancy. What exactly did you mean by needing coffee to read my post? Are you saying that my writing is boring? 😉



    Jan 16, 2008
  2. Nancy — I’m glad to see you gave a brief mention to ethical funds. As you know, ethical, green and socially responsible investing is gaining incredibly in popularity. I’ve been following this area for around forty years. You and your readers might like to know that I have a website that covers all the latest Canadian and global news concerning ethical, green and socially responsible investing. It’s at http://investingforthesoul.com/

    Best wishes, Ron Robins


    Jan 16, 2008
  3. @FT – lol – not at all a reflection on your post. A reflection of the fact that most of us go cross-eyed when reading anything about money 😉
    @Ron Robins: thanks for dropping by and commenting! I’ll be sure to pass your website along. Many (!) of my money coaching clients have a keen interest in learning how to make their own investing choices in companies that align with their personal values.


    Jan 16, 2008
  4. Wow. You’re such an articulative writer – and off course very knowledgeable about money too. It’s very kind of you to include Financial Jungle to your blogroll. I’ve done the same for yours, but only because you write it. Keep up the great work.


    Jan 17, 2008
  5. @FJ – thanks! I love doing this, and hope it encourages Cdns to take a greater interest in developing their own financial savvy.


    Jan 18, 2008

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