Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
Tax Free Savings Account (tfsa)
Similar to the American’s Roth, the Tax Free Savings Account (Tfsa) is a Canadian registered account using after tax dollars. Basically that means the government has already gotten their chunk of taxes from this money. All money in it as well as the gains you have acquired during those years can be pulled out at any time you would like, tax free! Fantastic.
If you are over 18, you can and should setup a tfsa. The government sets the yearly limits you can add to your tfsa (based on inflation). If you haven’t actually contributed yet, and have been over 18 since 2009. The total amount of money you can put into your tfsa is $52,000.
Tfsa Contribution Room
Year Annual limit
- 2009 $5000
- 2010 $5000
- 2011 $5000
- 2012 $5000
- 2013 $5500
- 2014 $5500
- 2015 $10,000
- 2016 $5500
- 2017 $5500
If You turned 18 sometime in 2015 your total room would be $21,000. Previous years don’t count if you weren’t 18 that year. You may say that sucks, since you missed out on the previous years. I was 24 when they introduced the tfsa. I missed out on 6 years of potential tfsa growth while you get the benefit of contributing every year since you turned 18. Not so bad now, is it?
You can basically buy anything in your tax free savings account stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etfs, gic’s and savings accounts…….. Although foreign dividend paying stocks do get charged a withholding tax, unlike the RRSP.
Don’t Over contribute!
One really important thing, don’t ever over contribute! The tax man will get you. Also if you pull out any money from a tfsa, you cannot re contribute that money into your tfsa the same year. ( If your maxed)
Ie. It’s 2017 You have a maxed out Tfsa at $52,000. You see that shiny 2014 Lotus Exige (my dream car) and the owner needs money. He’s posting it for $40,000. Naturally you low ball him and agree to buy it for 35k. Sweet! Congrats, now come pick my ass up. After a couple months you decide you don’t want it anymore. It has too much power, and too many ladies keep heckling you…. You call me up. Hey Rob you want that lotus? I’ll sell it to ya for 35k. Sure I say here’s 35 thousand.
You would like to re contribute that back to your tfsa right away. Then you remember that great article you read awhile back about tfsa’s. It told ya if your maxed out for contribution room you can’t put the money you took out until the following year, Next January. Sorry guess its going into that ugly savings account until next year.
How Do You Find Remaining Room
A easy way to see how much you can contribute this year is by going to the Canadian Revenue Agency’s Website. You can login to my account and figure out what you can put in that year. Only downside is it’s only updated at the start of the year. You need to track it during the year if your that close.
Let’s say your one of the smart one’s and your tfsa was maxed out and the stocks have done amazing. Instead of having $52,000 in your account, you have $75,000. Nice job. You want to put that down on a house or cottage. You pull it all out. (no penalties) Next year you can contribute $75,000 plus whatever the government’s annual tfsa increase is for that year. The Tfsa Ceiling increases based on your investments.
The Tax Free Savings Account is a fantastic retirement investment vehicle. If you were 18 when you started and for simplicity the yearly max contribution was $5000. You contributed once a year $5000 for 30 years and averaged a 6% return. Your tfsa balance at 48 years old would be $407,162.24 but you only paid tax on $150,000. What if you kept going til you were 60 years old. With the same numbers you would have $920,168.91 but you only paid tax on $210,000. START THE CAR!, START THE CAR!
The RRSP is another great investment account, that will be my next post. Are you currently taking advantage of the tfsa or roth? Or do you feel the RRSP or 401k is a better way to go.