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Registered Accounts at a Glance

The Canadian government offers several different types of registered accounts to meet certain savings goals. A ‘registered’ account means the account is registered with the federal government for tax purposes and offers incentives such as deferred tax payments, tax free growth, or tax-free contributions. Some registered accounts also offer a government contribution portion. Registered accounts can hold various investments such as mutual funds, GICs, stocks, bonds, ETFs, and cash.

Each registered account has specific parameters around eligibility, contributions, withdrawals, and transfers. Missing these parameters by withdrawing at the wrong time or over contributing usually means paying extra taxes or penalties and missing out on savings growth.

So, which registered account should you invest in first? Or should you invest in registered accounts at all?

There’s no universal answer, as it depends on your debt levels, your savings purpose and timeline, your tax situation, and more. To get you started choosing a registered account, we’ve summarized and compared the RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RDSP, RRIF, and FHSA below.

This is an overview only. For detailed advice customized to your situation, contact our advisors 1-888-929-7511.

Registered Account Type Purpose & Description Tax Treatment Contribution Limits

Withdrawal Restrictions

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) Retirement saving. Contributions are tax-deductible, and investments grow tax-free until withdrawal. Tax-deferred 18% of earned income, up to a maximum each year. 2024 max is $31,560.
Withdrawals are subject to taxes. Contribution room is lost once a withdrawal is made. Can also be withdrawn for First Time Home Buyers Plan or Life Long Learning Plan. 

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) Flexible saving and investing at any age. Contributions are not tax-deductible, but there is no tax payable on investment growth. Tax-free Annual contribution limit set by the government. The 2024 limit is $7,000. The cumulative contribution room in 2024 is $95,000. 
Withdrawals are tax-free and can be made at any time without penalty or tax implications. Withdrawals are added back to your contribution room at the beginning of the next year. 

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
Saving for a child's post-secondary education. Contributions are not tax-deductible, but the investment grows tax-free, and there is a 20% government contribution available. 


Maximum lifetime contribution is $50,000/beneficiary. Maximum government contribution is $7,200/child.  Withdrawals are taxed as income for the beneficiary and are intended for educational purposes. 
Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
For individuals with disabilities and their families to save for long-term financial security. Contributions are not tax-deductible. Investment growth is tax-deferred. 

Tax-deferred Lifetime contribution limit of $200,000. Government grants vary and can be up to $70,000 per beneficiary’s lifetime.  Withdrawals are a combination of government grants, contributions, and investment income. Tax treatment varies.
Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
For those who are turning 71 or are retiring, a RRIF provides income during retirement through regular withdrawals of RRSP savings. 


Contributions are carried over from an RRSP.  Minimum withdrawals are required and calculated based on your age at the beginning of each year. There are no maximum withdrawals. 
First Home Savings Account (FHSA) Saving for a first home purchase. Tax-Free Annual contribution limit is $8,000, lifetime contribution limit is $40,000. 
Withdrawals not used to purchase a home are subject to income tax (unless transferred to a RRSP or RRIF)