Whether you’re just starting to think about retirement or you’re getting closer to retiring, saving more for retirement is smart.

If you're like most Canadians, an RRSP may be the first savings plan that comes to mind, but there's more you can do to save for your retirement.

Non-registered plans and TFSAs, in addition to RRSPs, can help you save money, preserve your wealth and minimize your taxes — both when you make your contributions and every year between now and retirement.

If you're interested in integrating one or more of these plans into your retirement savings portfolio, the table below makes it easy to compare and choose one, two or all three options based on your needs and investment goals.

  Non-registered
RRSP
TFSA
 Annual contribution limit
 Unlimited
 Yes (based on  earned income)
 Yes (no earnings  requirement)
 Legislated minimum age to 
 No
 No
 Yes – age 18
 Legislated maximum age to 
 No
 Yes 71
 No
 Carry-forward of unused room
 n/a
 Yes
 Yes
 Tax-deductible  contribution
 No
 Yes
 No
 Monthly penalty on excess 
 n/a
 Yes
 Yes
 Tax-deferred/tax-free investment growth
 No
 Yes (tax-deferred)
 Yes ( tax-free)
 Taxable on withdrawal
 Taxable disposition
 Fully taxable
 Tax-free 
 Withdrawals added to contribution room
 n/a
 No
 Yes 
 Withdrawals impact federal income-  tested benefits 
 Yes
 Yes
 No
 Interest deductible on loan to 
 Yes
 No
 No
 Available for use as collateral 
 Yes
 No
 Yes 
 Tax-deferred/tax-free  transfer  to spouse  Yes
 Yes 
 Yes 
 Tax-deferred/tax-free transfer to 
 No
 No – fully taxable 
 Yes (investment  income after date  of death is taxable)
 Loss denied on transfer-in-kind 
 Yes
 Yes 
 Yes 

If you’re still not sure which plan or combination is right for you, a financial advisor can help you. Based on your individual needs and preferences, a financial advisor will work with you to determine how much of your savings should be in each of these plans, taking into account their tax implications and how you want your investment to grow.

Read more on this topic:

Comparison of savings options, Manulife Investments (PDF)

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