Don't make costly mistakes in the RRSP rush
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The March 1 RRSP contribution deadline is almost upon us, and if you've procrastinated this far, you're probably sweating a bit.
Not to fear, you still have a few options left to make sure your money makes it into your RRSP account to get you those valuable tax savings.
David Sokolan, a financial adviser with Edward Jones in Edmonton, says the most important thing at the last minute is to get your money into an RRSP account, ideally in cash so that you don't buy anything you're not ready for. Once the deadline passes, you can sit down with your adviser at a more opportune time to plan out an investment strategy.
"If you're in a big hurry, you can park your money in cash for now. All you have to do is put money into the RRSP account and a contribution slip is generated," he said.
"Don't go out and buy something that you don't really understand because it's easy to get into investments but always harder to get out," Sokolan said.
Make sure to get a notice of assessment first so that you'll know exactly how much room you have to contribute, as going over your limit can be painful.
"If you over-contribute to your RRSP, it will cost you extensive time and money to sort it out," Sokolan said.
If you already have an RRSP account set up, you can do an online deposit of cash right into your RRSP account, a good option for people lost for time.
If you haven't saved enough cash to put into your RRSP but you have outside investments, Sokolan suggests you move a portion of those into your RRSP accounts and they will count as a contribution just as money would.
Lastly, cashable GICs can be a good option if you don't want your money just sitting around in the RRSP but don't want to commit it too strongly â€” most are cashable in 30-60 days and generate interest up to the date you cash them.
Whatever you do, don't expect miracles to happen at the last minute, says Tom Hamza, president of the Investor Education Fund.
"It's like exercise â€” if you think that at the last day of RRSP season you can go out and run a marathon, you'll hurt yourself. It's something you have to plan for," Hamza said.
Don't dwell on past mistakes too much â€” a new day is a new chance to get back on track with your goals.
"Don't look back, look forward. There's no point in beating yourself up â€” but there is a point in acting, and we can all change what we do for the future," Hamza said.