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Old 01-14-2020, 02:24 PM   #1
moncton golden flames
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Should my wife and I each have our own RRSP accounts or should I set up a spousal RRSP? Pros and Cons to either? Do you recommend another strategy?

We make approximately the same amount of money per year.

I'm in charge of all our financial planning & goals, so how do I streamline things without having her to have separate log-ins, dashboards, accounts etc...?

edit: what about a joint RRSP account?
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:34 PM   #2
flamesrule_kipper34
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I currently contribute to a spousal RRSP.

Both spousal RRSP and my RRSP go towards my contribution limit for the year. The main pro is, when SHE pulls from the SPOUSAL RRSP in the future it'll go against HER annual income.

So basically we can maximize between both taxed incomes the removal of the RRSP instead of all of it coming out of ONE/MY RRSP and being just against my taxed income.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:33 PM   #3
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:13 PM   #4
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Well you can't have a joint RRSP account (nor a joint TFSA, just to satisfy any curiousity there).

You could set up an RRSP for her and you would each have your own. If you setup a spousal RRSP and contribute to that, the account is hers and you would have the tax deduction. If she withdraws these funds within a couple of years, you will have to pay tax on those withdrawals. Longer term, she could withdraw and pay tax. At this point you can split this income after age 65, so part of the attraction of a spousal RRSP was lost when that change was made. Traditionally people would do this so that each spouse had somehwat similar balances in an account so that in retirement they could split the required income and split tax. As I mentioned, that's kind of gone now after age 65.

As far as online access, that's harder to answer. For me you can have the accounts together for a household and see everything that way under one login. I don't know if that's an option for you, but suspect it would be?
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:42 PM   #5
moncton golden flames
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As far as online access, that's harder to answer. For me you can have the accounts together for a household and see everything that way under one login. I don't know if that's an option for you, but suspect it would be?
you mean only have one RRSP account and we both contribute and benefit from it over the long term?
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:49 PM   #6
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you mean only have one RRSP account and we both contribute and benefit from it over the long term?
No you would each have your own (or have yours and a spousal for her depending on your preference), but only one online access.

A quick note on the spousal and taxes though. Let's say you both make the same amount and decide to put $10k into each this year. With a spousal RRSP, that entire $20k is a tax deduction for you. It also drops your contribution room by that $20k. If you each have an RRSP, you would each save the taxes and it would be deducted from each of your contribution room.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:16 PM   #7
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On this topic, when my wife was with another company they were allowed to make matching contributions into spousal RRSP account. Itís not a big deal, but is there any way to fold that into my own RRSP account now? Itís more of an irritation than anything. Just wondering why itís a hassle to move into into another RRSP account with the same institution.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:21 PM   #8
moncton golden flames
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No you would each have your own (or have yours and a spousal for her depending on your preference), but only one online access.
i have just begun with questrade and i have not seen an option that allows us to have 2 different rrsp accounts under the one login. did i choose the wrong broker or am i missing something?
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:23 PM   #9
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On this topic, when my wife was with another company they were allowed to make matching contributions into spousal RRSP account. Itís not a big deal, but is there any way to fold that into my own RRSP account now? Itís more of an irritation than anything. Just wondering why itís a hassle to move into into another RRSP account with the same institution.
You can't combine a spousal and non-spousal RRSP. Well, you can but you have to make the entire thing spousal. If you want to hear an incredibly quick "AYFKM!?" just explain that to someone who had an acrimonious split!
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:25 PM   #10
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i have just begun with questrade and i have not seen an option that allows us to have 2 different rrsp accounts under the one login. did i choose the wrong broker or am i missing something?
Well it's a sponsored subforum, so I'll just state the obvious: you picked the wrong broker!!

(They must be able to do it? I obviously don't know how, but surely it's possible through them.)
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:23 AM   #11
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i have just begun with questrade and i have not seen an option that allows us to have 2 different rrsp accounts under the one login. did i choose the wrong broker or am i missing something?
My wife and I both have Questrade accounts - TFSA and RRSP.

She had to fill out a few forms that basically permitted me to be the authorized dealer. She makes weekly contributions to both accounts but is not interested in trading at all. However, since she authorised me as an authorized dealer, after about a week I was able to gain access. I log into my Questrade account and can see accounts under my wife's name. I am able to put in trades for both myself and my wife.

Questrade's online chat function can also walk you through the steps. Anecdotally, they have been super helpful any time I had questions.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:15 AM   #12
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You can't combine a spousal and non-spousal RRSP. Well, you can but you have to make the entire thing spousal. If you want to hear an incredibly quick "AYFKM!?" just explain that to someone who had an acrimonious split!

So is there a simple explanation of the reasoning behind why it canít simply be merged into either her RRSP or my RRSP?
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:33 AM   #13
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Well you can't have a joint RRSP account (nor a joint TFSA, just to satisfy any curiousity there).

You could set up an RRSP for her and you would each have your own. If you setup a spousal RRSP and contribute to that, the account is hers and you would have the tax deduction. If she withdraws these funds within a couple of years, you will have to pay tax on those withdrawals. Longer term, she could withdraw and pay tax. At this point you can split this income after age 65, so part of the attraction of a spousal RRSP was lost when that change was made. Traditionally people would do this so that each spouse had somehwat similar balances in an account so that in retirement they could split the required income and split tax. As I mentioned, that's kind of gone now after age 65.

As far as online access, that's harder to answer. For me you can have the accounts together for a household and see everything that way under one login. I don't know if that's an option for you, but suspect it would be?
Don't the attribution rules only apply to the current year and previous two? So as long as I contribute to a spousal RSP now and she doesn't cash any until we retire 15 years down the road it will be taxable in her name?

Just curious as I currently put most of my contributions into a spousal RSP as I have a large amount in mine, but my wife has almost no income and a very small amount in her RSP plan. The last few years before retirement I'd stop contributing to hers, and once it eventually rolls to an RIF it would simply be the required withdrawals from her plan. Under this scenario there should be no income attribution back to myself should there?
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:39 AM   #14
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So is there a simple explanation of the reasoning behind why it canít simply be merged into either her RRSP or my RRSP?
That part I'm not sure of. I just know that for clients who have had a divorce and would really like to have all ties severed that this is a spot where we can't do it. It could have to do with the attribution and tracking, but I'm not sure.

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Don't the attribution rules only apply to the current year and previous two? So as long as I contribute to a spousal RSP now and she doesn't cash any until we retire 15 years down the road it will be taxable in her name?

Just curious as I currently put most of my contributions into a spousal RSP as I have a large amount in mine, but my wife has almost no income and a very small amount in her RSP plan. The last few years before retirement I'd stop contributing to hers, and once it eventually rolls to an RIF it would simply be the required withdrawals from her plan. Under this scenario there should be no income attribution back to myself should there?
Yes, that's right. It's not that the attribution rules last many years, but you just need to be aware of them as a possibility. The split I was talking about is say you want $100k in income. You could withdraw that from one RRSP after age 65 and split it $50k each so that each individual has a lower income. This helps with things like that OAS clawback and reduced taxation and things like that.
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Old 01-20-2020, 03:17 PM   #15
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Just out of curiosity.....does contributing a bunch into a spousal RRSP make any difference in the event of a divorce? I assume it’s all getting split up anyway, but maybe there’s more to it.

Hopefully we live happily ever after and all that.....
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:21 PM   #16
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Just out of curiosity.....does contributing a bunch into a spousal RRSP make any difference in the event of a divorce? I assume itís all getting split up anyway, but maybe thereís more to it.

Hopefully we live happily ever after and all that.....
Well it will have the assets more even in that event, but really if you have it all in yours and zero in hers she's getting half anyway (although I'm not a divorce lawyer, obviously!)

The only other potential issue for spousal RRSP accounts is the tax attribution. Basically if you deposit and get the tax-break and your spouse withdraws in the first couple years, you will get the tax bill associated and not your spouse. Not sure how that would go in a divorce, and that's possibly one for the lawyers in terms of nuance.
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