Consolidating your retirement savings accounts can save you money, time
March 30, 2023
Do you have several registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) accounts?
When Save with SPP thinks back to the mid-1980s, when our first RRSP was started, we probably have had about 10 providers up to now. Presently, we are down to two. Sometimes it was because we bought RRSPs through a specific bank, sometimes we moved our self-directed RRSP from one provider to another. That made us wonder. Is it better to have multiple RRSP accounts, or should we all try to consolidate them into one?
The MD Financial website lists four reasons why consolidation may work in your favour. MD Financial assists Canadian physicians with their retirement savings.
First, an article on their site explains, “it’s simpler to manage accounts at one institution.” And since most financial institutions charge fees, maybe one fee is better than many, the article adds.
It’s also easier to review all your investments if they are all in one place, the article notes.
“When all of your RRSP assets are visible in one spot, you can more easily confirm whether your investments are right for you,” the MD article notes. “This is especially true as you start to withdraw from those accounts to create income, or as you approach the end of the calendar year in which you turn 71, when RRSP assets need to be converted to a registered retirement income fund or used to purchase an annuity,” the article continues. Working from one account will make getting your retirement income flow less complicated, the article adds. “With multiple sources of savings to draw on, consolidating your RRSP assets with one financial institution can make it easier to manage your retirement income cash flow,” the article explains. “That way, you’re making RRSP withdrawals from just one institution,” the MD article reports.
An article from a few years back by Terry McBride of the StarPhoenix makes some similar points.
“Having separate RRSP accounts with various banks is not a very efficient way to achieve safety through diversification. By consolidating and using just one self-directed RRSP, you can hold marketable bonds, exchange traded funds (ETFs) or guaranteed income certificates (GICs) issued by any number of banks, trust companies or credit unions. You can have as much diversification and Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation coverage as you want. Savings in mutual fund management fees from consolidating can more than offset your self-directed RRSP administration fee,” notes McBride.
It will also make it easier for your executor if they have only one financial institution, rather than multiple ones, to deal with, the article adds. And as well, the article concludes, you will save a few trees (or emails) by not having as many statements to read.
The Motley Fool blog makes another interesting point about fees — if your various retirement accounts all are charged different fees, it may makes sense to consolidate within an account that has lower fees.
“Costly fees will hamper the growth of your savings,” the blog warns.
An article on the Marketwatch website says consolidation is a great way to put little pieces of pension from various jobs in your career into one spot, prior to retiring.
“While putting everything together, you may remember accounts you had completely forgotten about, such as a 401(k) (similar to a Canadian group RRSP) from an employer you were with for only a few years, or a pension benefit you may be eligible for based on the company’s requirements,” the article adds.
Do you have your retirement savings in multiple places? If you’re a member of the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, you can consolidate them within SPP. Under SPP’s rules, you can transfer in up to $10,000 from an RRSP each calendar year. Transferred funds will be invested by SPP at a low management fee, typically less than one per cent, and you’ll be able to keep an eye on your account whenever you want via My SPP. Check out SPP today!
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Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.