Shifting forward to maximize growth

Even if you make your full RRSP contribution every year, you may not be maximizing your RRSP tax opportunity. For example, if you wait until close to the RRSP deadline to contribute each year, you'll miss out on up to 425 days of tax-deferred growth on each contribution.

The solution is "shifting forward" your annual RRSP contributions so you maximize the time your money grows without tax.

To shift forward, make your maximum RRSP contribution early in the year, for the year ahead. (Tip: File your tax return early to learn your contribution limit, or estimate your limit from your previous year's "earned income" and any pension adjustments.)

Then, simply continue contributing early each year. You'll be on your way to taking full advantage of the long-term tax-deferred benefits your RRSP offers.

While you're at it, remember the $2,000 lifetime RRSP overcontribution limit? You can use it to "shift forward" even more. By putting up to another $2,000 in your RRSP, it can grow without immediate tax. While you cannot deduct the overcontribution immediately, you should aim to deduct it when you have more contribution room - say the year after you retire.