DEFINITION of 'Registered Retirement Savings Plan - RRSP'

A legal trust registered with the Canada Revenue Agency and used to save for retirement. RRSP contributions are tax deductible and taxes are deferred until the money is withdrawn. An RRSP can contain stocks, bonds, mutual funds, GICs, contracts and even mortgage-backed equity.

RRSPs have two main tax advantages:

1. Contributors deduct contributions against their income. For example, if a contributor's tax rate is 40%, every $100 he or she invests in an RRSP will save that person $40 in taxes, up to his or her contribution limit.

2. The growth of RRSP investments is tax sheltered. Unlike with non-RRSP investments, returns are exempt from any capital-gains tax, dividend tax or income tax. This means that investments under RRSPs compound at a pretax rate.

BREAKING DOWN 'Registered Retirement Savings Plan - RRSP'

In effect, RRSP contributors delay the payment of taxes until retirement, when their marginal tax rate will be lower than during their working years. The Government of Canada has provided this tax deferral to Canadians to encourage retirement savings, which will help the population to rely less on the Canadian Pension Plan to fund retirement.

To learn more about RRSPs, check out How are Registered Retirement Saving Plans (RRSPs) taxed?

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