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Enjoy the flexibility of a non-registered savings plan

Have you reached your maximum TFSA contribution limit? Topped up your RRSP? If your answer is yes, and you want to keep saving for your retirement, then a non-registered savings plan - sometimes referred to as an NRSP - is what you need! Explore how this effective and flexible investment account can fit with your retirement plans.

What is a non-registered account?

Before we define a non-registered account, it helps to know what makes an account “registered.” In Canada, a variety of savings and investing accounts offer tax incentives for contributing. As such, they are registered with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and come with limits on contributions, as well as rules around withdrawals and age. These accounts include the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), as well as income-generating accounts, like the Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF).

On the other hand, non-registered accounts come without these restrictions. While this increased flexibility offers greater potential for growth, the trade-off is that you lose the tax-sheltering advantages on your contributions and investment growth. Still, in cases where you’ve exhausted your registered options, a non-registered account can supplement your retirement savings and help you reach your goals faster.

What’s the difference between registered and non-registered accounts?

The chart below outlines the main differences between non-registered accounts and popular registered accounts like RRSPs and TFSAs.

  RRSP TFSA NRSP
Is there a minimum age? No, but you must have earned income and have filed a tax return 18 18(to own a plan), but no minimum on the annuitant. Or 16 for non-registered segregated funds, if purchased through a life-insurance company.
Is there a maximum age? 711 No No
Is there an annual contribution limit? 18% of your earned income up to a maximum of $31,560 in 20242 $7,0003 in 2024 No
Do contributions reduce taxable income? Yes No No
Are withdrawals taxed? Yes No No
Are investment gains and losses taxable? No No Yes
Can you name a beneficiary? Yes Yes No, but certain investments within the account can have a beneficiary. Segregated funds, as an exception, must have a named beneficiary.

1 You can contribute to your own RRSP until December 31 of the year that you turn 71. You can contribute to a spousal RRSP until December 31 of the year that your spouse turns 71. RRSPs must be converted to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) by December 31 of the year that you turn 71.

2 Since unused contribution room carries forward, you may be eligible to contribute more than the annual maximum. To find out your individual RRSP limit for the current year, check your most recent Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Annual contribution limits are also reduced by any existing pension adjustments from an employer-sponsored pension plan. Your limit may be less than 18% if you contribute to a company pension plan.

3 Anyone who was 18 or older in 2009, and has not yet contributed, will have $95,000 of contribution room available in 2024.

What are the benefits?

Bringing you more flexibility, non-registered investment accounts allow you to save as much as you want, when you want. You can withdraw any amount at any time and use the funds for whatever you’d like (be mindful that with a non-registered segregated fund, capital gains or losses may occur every time you move out of a fund). You can also choose from all types of investment options - like mutual funds, segregated funds, stocks, bonds and more - to diversify your portfolio and give your savings an added boost.

Think you want to get started with a non-registered investment account?

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I'd rather explore registered options

The information contained in this report was obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, we cannot guarantee that it is accurate or complete and it should not be considered personal taxation advice. We are not tax advisors and we recommend that clients seek independent advice from a professional tax advisor on tax related matters. Mutual funds are offered through Co-operators Financial Investment Services Inc. to Canadian residents except those in Quebec and the territories. Segregated funds and annuities are administered by Co-operators Life Insurance Company. Co-operators Life Insurance Company and Co-operators Financial Investment Services Inc. are committed to protecting the privacy, confidentiality, accuracy and security of the personal information that we collect, use, retain and disclose in the course of conducting our business. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information.

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