How Much Can I Put Into My RRSP If I Have Never Contributed?

Finding out your RRSP contribution room if this is your first time contributing into RRSP will help you avoid penalties and plan ahead to maximize your tax benefits.
How much can I put into my RRSP if I have never contributed
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If you are a Canadian resident who has never contributed to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), you may be wondering how much you can invest and benefit from the tax benefits. A RRSP is a great way to save for retirement while lowering your taxable income. In this post, we’ll go over the requirements and limitations of contributing to an RRSP, so you can make an informed decision regarding your retirement savings approach.

How Much Can I Put Into My RRSP If I Have Never Contributed?

1. Understanding RRSP contribution room

Based on your earned income and previous contributions, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) determines your RRSP contribution room. If you continue to have earned income, the contribution room grows every year, giving you the option to save and invest in a tax-efficient manner. If you have never contributed to an RRSP previously, you have an unused contribution room.

2. Determining your RRSP contribution room

You can look at your most recent Notice of Assessment from the CRA to determine your RRSP contribution room. This page contains specific details on your unused RRSP contribution room. You can also check your contribution room via the CRA’s web portal, My Account.

Your RRSP contribution limit is calculated as a percentage of your earned income, up to a maximum dollar amount. The RRSP contribution limit for the 2023 tax year is 18% of your earned income, up to a maximum of \$30,780. However, it’s important to know that the maximum contribution room is adjusted annually based on previous contributions, so it’s best to stay current on the CRA’s current limits.

3. Unused RRSP contribution room

One of the many benefits of RRSPs is that any unused contribution room can be carried forward until December 31 of the year you turn age 71. This means that even if you haven’t contributed in the past, you can still catch up on your contributions. To optimize your future RRSP savings potential, keep track of your unused contribution room.

4. Making catch-up contributions

You can make catch-up contributions if you have unused contribution room from past years. Catch-up contributions allow you to save more than the current year’s contribution limit, up to the amount of unused contribution room in your account. However, before making big catch-up payments, check your income and assess your own financial circumstances to ensure you maximize the tax benefits and retirement goals.

5. How to manage your RRSP contributions wisely

While it may be tempting to boost your RRSP contributions each year, you must keep your entire financial strategy in mind. Contributing the maximum amount may not be realistic or strategic for everyone. When saving into an RRSP, consider factors such as your current income, tax bracket, and when you might need to use the money.

6. Contributing above RRSP limits

You are eligible to over contribute to your RRSP by a lifetime limit of \$2,000. If your RRSP contribution room is insufficient to achieve your retirement savings goals, you have other options. To bolster your retirement funds, look into Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) or non-registered investment accounts. These accounts provide various tax benefits and may provide additional flexibility based on your specific circumstances.

7. Using a Financial Advisor

Navigating the world of RRSP contributions and retirement planning can be difficult. It’s always a good idea to seek advice from a skilled financial advisor who can examine your specific situation and assist you in developing a customized retirement savings strategy. They can provide useful tips, answer your questions, and help you make informed decisions regarding your RRSP contributions.


If you don’t have cash to contribute to your RRSP, you may consider using the RRSP loan strategy. An RRSP loan strategy involves you taking out a loan to contribute to your RRSP and get a tax deduction.

The amount you need to contribute to your RRSP in order to avoid paying taxes is determined by your income and tax bracket. Consult a financial advisor or use online tools to find the best contribution amount for your circumstances.

If you don’t contribute to your RRSP, you won’t be able to take advantage of the tax benefits it provides, such as tax deferral and potential tax deductions. To optimize your savings, you should prepare for retirement and take advantage of RRSP contributions.

Your RRSP contribution limit may be $0 if you have not earned any income or if you have reached your contribution limit for the year. You can call Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or login into My Account or speak with a financial advisor for specific details regarding your RRSP contribution limit.

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Written by:

Jim Pan, CFP, MFA-P

Jim is a dedicated, fee and advice only independent Certified Financial Planner with a focus on supporting healthcare business owners during their crucial growth phase. His expertise lies in offering comprehensive solutions to minimize taxes while embracing a holistic approach. With a career spanning back to 2010, Jim has established a strong presence in the financial industry. He proudly holds a range of designations, including Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and Master Financial Advisor - Philanthropy (MFA-P). He is currently pursuing additional designations and qualifications to better serve his clients and community. Beyond his qualifications, Jim is a member and an esteemed participant in the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), an exclusive global association comprising the top 1% of financial advisors. Jim's commitment extends to the community, where he spearheads numerous charitable fundraising events and plays an active role in enhancing the well-being of others. Additionally, he has contributed significantly by serving on the board of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Vancouver. Currently, he volunteers with Junior Achievement of British Columbia (JABC) to present personal finance topics to youths.

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