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Don’t let the RRSP deadline scare you

It’s the end of February: have you contributed to your RRSP yet? The March 1 RRSP contribution deadline is looming, and if you haven’t contributed yet, you may be beginning to panic. How much do I contribute? And what to invest it in?

Before making a rash decision, remember that most important thing is that you get your money into an RRSP account. There is no rule that says you have to invest it upon deposit. Don’t force yourself into a quick decision, and buy something you aren’t comfortable with or don’t understand.

Check your notice of assessment from last year’s tax records, to be sure you know how much room you have to contribute. The last thing you need is to over contribute and start dealing with penalties. If you have time, talk to an accountant or financial adviser about how much you should contribute. If your optimal contribution isn’t possible, contribute as much as you can afford, without straining your day to day budget.

If you already have an RRSP account open from a previous year, you might be able to quickly and easily deposit cash right into your RRSP account via online banking, saving you the time and hassle required to set up an appointment.

Once the cash has been deposited, contact your adviser and schedule a meeting in the coming weeks, to decide when and how to invest. Working at a relaxed pace allows you to consider all options and make a choice that suits your needs and your risk tolerance.

Also, another point to remember: if you are strapped for cash this year, but still want to contribute to an RRSP, you can transfer other investments into an RRSP account – provided they are eligible.

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