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.


October 11, 2021

Could a trick used in golf and other sports – visualization – work for retirement saving?

If you’re a golfer, you are probably familiar with the concept of visualization. You imagine your drive swinging gently into the middle of the fairway, landing, and rolling forward. The idea is that with that thought in your mind, your brain will deliver that desired swing result.

Could such an idea be helpful for retirement savers?

An article in Marketwatch suggests that yes, maybe it could work.

“Visualization is often used to boost confidence, reduce anxiety and take a few mental practice runs before we try something for real,” writes Jonathan Clements in the Marketwatch article. “Think about high-pressure situations like making a speech or interviewing for a job. By imagining these events in detail beforehand, we’re likely to perform better when it’s time for the actual thing.”

He argues that for savers, “the biggest benefit of visualization is increased motivation.”

“It can help us overcome our hard-wired tendency to favour today and shortchange our future self,” he notes, “while also helping us to get a better handle on what we truly want from our money.” Love the idea of looking after one’s future self!

So how do we get this working?

Clements suggests that you “picture a goal,” such as retirement, “in as much detail as possible.” The focus should not be on “winning” the goal (or even on not winning) but on the steps that need to be taken along the way to success, he writes.

As you fill in the details of how you want to achieve your goal, “the goal will become ever more real, its emotional intensity will grow – and you’ll be more motivated to go after it,” Clements writes. He quotes psychologist Jennice Vilhauer as saying “being able to do something in your head, greatly increases your chances of being able to do it in real life.”

For long-term saving, visualization is a great way to combat the “allure of immediate spending” which has such a powerful hold on most of us, Clements says.

The article concludes with a caveat – be careful what you wish for! Even if your dream is to save for retirement, be prepared for finding out that retirement itself isn’t what you thought it would be like.

This article makes some very good points. Few of us are organized enough or perceptive enough to accurately imagine, in advance, what retirement will be like. You don’t know until you’re there.

But the steps towards saving for retirement are easier to imagine. Join any pension program your employer offers. If there isn’t one to join, you need to develop one of your own.

What a pension plan does is to put away a portion of your pay for your future use, off the top of the cheque and before you have a chance to spend it. That money is then quietly invested, and typically every time you get a raise, you kick a little more into the pension. When it’s time to collect it, you contact the pension plan and learn your options for receiving income from your savings.

If you are a pension do-it-yourselfer, consider the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, marking its 35th year of operations. They have all the tools to set you on the path of retirement saving, making it an automatic, painless process – and easy to visualize.

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

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.

Retirement isn’t just about money – it’s about making use of all the free time

February 27, 2020

If you Google “retirement + plan” you will find lots and lots of information about stashing some of your cash in a safe investment haven so you can crack into it in retirement.

But there’s more to retirement than just the money side of things (even though that aspect is very important). Save with SPP took a look around to see how people go about setting goals for retirement – making use of the newfound time they now have, in abundance.

According to the Kiplinger blog, just as you may have created a financial plan for retirement, you also need to make a plan to live out your dreams, and to “make the next 20 or 30 years purposeful.” 

Sometimes, work slots us into roles that aren’t really aligned with what we think we are about, the blog explains.  “Many times, work is what you do and not so much who you are,” states Catherine Frank of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in North Carolina. “Retirement is an opportunity to create a life that reflects more closely who you are,” she tells the Kiplinger blog.

The blog quotes one retiree, retired professor Ronald Mannheimer, who decided to work on his fitness, and volunteer, but found he still had gaps in his day. “Keep open time to explore, to perhaps research what you may want to do next,” he tells Kiplinger “But you should be able to look forward to a calendar of activities.”

OK, so we want to spend time doing things that we have always wanted to do. What if we can’t think of any?

There’s a helpful list at Financial Advisor magazine. They suggest becoming a teacher’s aide, working in retail, working as a tour guide, being a driver, volunteering (or working for a non-profit), and athletics, among other ideas.

There are more ideas over at Marketwatch, including “taking up a sport,” getting a hobby, starting a business, and (of course), travel.

The Retirement Field Guide reminds us what not to do – don’t waste time “watching too much TV,” while “having an empty calendar,” or you will find you’ve become a hermit. They offer similar ideas for retirement activities, including learning new skills (say, music), being a mentor, joining or starting a club, and many more.

It’s very, very hard to visualize retirement while you are still working. Very hard.  It’s not like being on vacation. If anything, it’s like every day is the weekend. The advice from the various bloggers cited here is sound – take some time now, while you are working, to think about what you want to do with your hard-earned time. Talk to folks who are already over the wall and enjoying retirement, and you’ll be surprised how busy they have become.

Even doing only things you like often requires a bit of cash. A tremendous resource for creating retirement income is the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. The SPP is pretty unique – it’s an open defined contribution pension plan. You can contribute up to $6,300 a year towards your retirement, and SPP will grow your savings (with professional investing at a low cost) until that wonderful day when you move into fitness and hobbies full time. Then, you can collect those grown-up savings in the form of a monthly, lifetime pension cheque. Check them out today!

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. He and his wife live with their Shelties, Duncan and Phoebe, and cat, Toobins. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22

Aug 5: Best from the blogosphere

August 5, 2013

By Sheryl Smolkin


The weather is about as good as it gets across Canada in early August, but it won’t be long before the leaves start to fall and temperatures plummet. That’s when some of us start wondering if we can afford retire somewhere warm.

If you are starting to do the research, take a look at the two part series The Pros, Cons, and Considerations of an International Retirement and 10 Best International Places to Retire on

The pros and cons of Ecuador as a retirement destination is on the Wall Street Journal blog called MarketWatch so it is primarily geared to Americans, but there is also lots of useful information for other expats.

Another interesting U.S. post from the N.Y. Times considers how you can go abroad to places like Vietnam and Australia but keep working during at least the early part of your retirement.

But when it comes right down to it, even a tropical climate can’t replace close friends and family. That’s why you may decide to stay put and retire where everyone knows your name.

Regardless of where you decide to hang your hat for the next chapter, see seven habits of happily retired people shared by Brighter Life blogger Dave Dineen. He advocates trying new things, looking after yourself, caring for others and staying engaged.

Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information with us on and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.