What Is A Registered Investment? Canadians Guide

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What is a Registered Investment
Article Overview

Cash as well as investments (Mutual Funds, stocks, ETFs, and bonds, among others) that are bought or traded to help you achieve your financial goals are held in an investment account. Individual investors’ trading accounts are managed by dealers and their certified investment advisors.

Anyone can open both non-registered and registered investment accounts in Canada. In this post, we’re going to discuss at length what registered investment is, its types, and every other thing you might need to know.

Investing is a large part of your financial success, take to the time to let our other articles guide you to financial happiness.

What is a registered investment?

Registered Investments are tax-deferred or tax-sheltered investments that have been registered with the government. Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP), Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs), as well as Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), are all examples of registered investments. Contributions to an RRSP can be deducted from your income every single year during tax season. In this approach, the funds in an RRSP will be taxed at a later period and, presumably, at a reduced tax rate when it is withdrawn. 

What is a non-registered investment fund?

On the other hand, non-registered investments are not subject to government regulation. They are not subject to the same restrictions or rules as registered investment vehicles due to their unregistered status. The highest amount you can invest each year, as well as age limitations, apply to registered investments. RESPs might also have yearly restrictions on how much the government will pay. These limitations do not apply to non-registered investments.

Non-registered investment income is taxed with your income each year since it does not benefit the same tax-deferral or tax-sheltered advantages as registered investments. Even though non-registered investment taxes are collected on income, only 50percent of investment earnings from non-registered assets can be taxed at your tax rate.

This may all be a little confusing around tax season, which is why chatting with an investment financial advisor before you start investing in any registered and non-registered products can be quite advantageous.

Deciding Between a Registered and a Non-Registered Account?

The decision between a registered and non-registered account is based on a number of variables, including:

  • Your current and future marginal tax rates
  • The sorts of assets in which you intend to invest
  • The kind of returns (capital gains, dividends, interest income)
  • The amount of money you want to invest and why you want to invest it (short-term project financing, retirement savings, college fees for your children)
  • Whether you’ve used up all of your registered plans
  • Account age restrictions, if appropriate

What are the many types of Registered Accounts available?

Because the Canadian government encourages certain savings goals, there are several distinct types of registered accounts. Here are some of the accounts that have been created:

  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Life Income Fund (LIF)
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

1. Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

You can contribute to an RRSP account up to a certain amount each year depending on a percentage of your earned income in the previous year. Your contribution reduces your taxable income, saving you money on taxes (tax refund).

Income earned in your investment account is tax-deferred until you begin withdrawing from it in retirement. Your marginal tax rate is payable during this time, which is usually lower than it was throughout your working years.

When you take money out of your RRSP (except for the Lifelong Learning or Home Buyers’ Plans), you permanently lose that percentage of your contribution capacity immediately. Contribution space that has not been used can be carried over forever, and there are consequences for donating more than you are permitted.

Because RRSP earnings are compound tax-free, these additional funds may greatly boost your portfolio returns performance over time, making the RRSP an excellent vehicle for growing your retirement savings.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP): Tips

The majority of assets operate effectively in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan(RRSP). In RRSP accounts, income-producing investment assets like fixed-income securities (bonds) as well as term deposits (GICs and High-Interest Savings Accounts) are highly helpful. Holding income-generating securities outside of a registered plan is unfavorable since interest income tax is calculated at your marginal tax rate

  • When your marginal tax rate is greater now than when you withdraw or during retirement, you get the most advantage from your RRSP. Your tax savings, as well as portfolio development, are maximized when you reinvest the tax return produced by your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions.
  • RRSPs offer a spousal account as a critical component of an income-splitting scheme to reduce the overall tax liability on your household in retirement.
  • Assets kept in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) account is can be effortlessly rebalanced without having to keep track of capital gains or losses, modified cost bases, as well as the tax consequences.
  • If the account plan holder’s RRSP assets are still available when he or she dies, they are transferable to an eligible beneficiary tax-free.
  • The Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) account’s limits and fines may make it a lot easier for less-disciplined individuals to stick to their plans and save for retirement.

2. Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

Since 2009, all qualified adults over the age of 18 have been able to invest up to a specific amount every year ($6,000 in the year 2022) in a tax-free investment account. The money you put into your TFSA does not result in a tax refund.

Unused TFSA contribution room, similar to RRSP contribution capacity, can be rolled over forever. Funds withdrawals from a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), unlike an RRSP, can be re-contributed at a later time in the future.

When you remove money from your TFSA account, you don’t have to pay taxes on the income earned by the account. Over-contribution to your Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) might result in fines.

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA): Tips

  • Income-producing investment assets can be held in a TFSA account to avoid paying a higher tax rate on interest income than on capital gains or dividends.
  • A TFSA may be preferred over an RRSP if you are investing/saving funds that you expect to release in the near future (for a mortgage on a house, a trip, or emergency savings). You can re-contribute the amount you took out as early as the year after you took it out.
  • Do you want to invest in dividend-paying overseas stocks? Asides from the withholding tax imposed by the foreign nation; you will not be required to pay any additional taxes in Canada if your funds are maintained in a TFSA.
  • Revenue from a TFSA is not included in the level at which the government begins to claw back your OAS pension.
  • If you don’t have enough “earned” income to contribute to an RRSP, a TFSA enables you to save or invest in a registered tax-deferred account using money from any source.
  • Because their “tax rebate” advantage is substantially lower given the lower marginal tax rate, lower-income persons should prioritize their TFSA above their RRSP inmost circumstances. Furthermore, any TFSA earnings will not be counted toward GIS eligibility in retirement.

3. Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

This is a savings plan set up to help your children save for their post-secondary education.

The government authorities sweeten the offer by contributing 20 cents per each $1 you contribute, limited to a total of $500 in subsidies per year (as well as a lifetime limit of $7,200) to motivate parents/guardians to prepare for their children’s future studies. The Canada Education Savings Plan (CESG) makes this incentive possible.

The a-CESG, as well as the Canada Learning Bond, provide further funding. In an RESP, you may contribute up to $50,000 for a child.

Contributions to RESPs are not taxable. The account’s earnings are tax-deferred until your child begins making withdrawals to pay for college. The funds they withdraw are subsequently taxed at a lower rate when it reaches their hands.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP): Tips

  • The free government grants ensure you a yield on your RESP contribution of 20percent or more as soon as they are received!
  • If your child decides not to continue their education beyond high school, you have a few options for how to spend the money.

What's the difference between registered and non-registered GIC?

There are two kinds of GICs in Canada: registered and non-registered. Registered GICs allow you to grow your money in government-registered accounts tax-free. Non-registered GICs are held as separate investments and are subject to government taxation, which means you’ll lose a percentage of whatever interest you receive. These GICs, on the other hand, are usually more flexible compared to registered GICs.


The difference between registered and non-registered investments is that registered investments refer to investment accounts or plans that are recognized by the government and offer certain tax and estate benefits. Examples include RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans), TFSAs (Tax-Free Savings Accounts) and RESPs (Registered Education Savings Plans). Non-registered investments are accounts or plans that are not granted with the same tax and estate benefits by the government.

Some examples of non-registered investments are investments in Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds and ETFs. 

RRSP is a registered investment that offers tax and estate benefits. Some benefits include tax deduction on the amount you contribute to a RRSP account and tax deferral on the income earned in the account. You can also name your spouse or dependent children under age of 18 as your beneficiaries for continuous tax deferral.

The difference between a registered and non-registered GIC is that a registered GIC, GIC held in RRSP or TFSA, will have tax benefits. Whereas in a non-registered GIC, you will report the interest earned as taxable income every year.

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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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