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Registered vs. non‑registered accounts

Learn about the benefits

What's the difference?

Government-registered plans and accounts, like RRSPsTFSAs and RESPs, let you grow your savings tax-free.

Non-registered accounts offer no financial incentives but allow for much more flexibility. Learn more about these different ways to save.

3 questions to help you compare

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What are the financial benefits?

Opting for a registered plan lets you grow your savings tax-free until withdrawal. Contributions to an RRSP are also not counted as taxable income.

With a non-registered account, investment income is taxed but withdrawals are not.

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How much can you contribute?

Registered plans are subject to an annual contribution limit, after which you will be charged taxes or penalties. Contribution room for RRSPs is capped at 18% of your annual income. The 2017 limit for TFSAs is $5,500, and you can put up to $50,000 total in an RESP.

There is no limit for non-registered accounts. You're free to save much as you want.

Young man and young woman do their accounting with a calculator
Young man and young woman do their accounting with a calculator
Young man and young woman do their accounting with a calculator
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Is there an age limit?

Most registered savings plans have a minimum or maximum age limit. You must be over the age of 18 to open a TFSA and under 71 to contribute to an RRSP, for example.

There is no age limit for non-registered accounts, so this is a good option if you're over 71. A non-registered account is also useful if you have maxed out your TFSA or RRSP.

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Tip

systematic savings plan makes it easy to save by putting aside a little money at a time.

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One of our experts will be pleased to help you choose a plan or plans to suit your budget and goals.

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Little details that matter

See how you can save with a TFSA

Unlike a non-registered account, there is no tax on income generated in your TFSA. Here's now you can earn more with TFSA.

Example:

 

  Non-registered account

 TFSA

Monthly deposit
  $100
Investment term
  20 years
Rate of return1
  5.50%
Tax rate
  26.00%
  0.00%
Total investment value after 20 years
  $36,679
  $43,078
  In this example, you save $6,399 in taxes with a TFSA ($43,078 – $36,679 = $6,399)

The information in this graph is hypothetical and for information purposes only. The calculations are provided as examples and are intended only to illustrate the difference between holding investments in a TFSA vs. non-registered account over the designated period under identical conditions.

The actual returns on your investment are based on your portfolio and investment date and may be higher or lower than the information presented here. This data creates no legal or contractual obligation for National Bank of Canada or its subsidiaries.

Legal disclaimer

1. Actual rate of return compounded annually.

Understanding savings

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