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Making the grade: A lesson plan on RRSP contributions

"Switched from TD after almost 30 years with them to Meridian about 4 years ago. It was one of the best things we've ever done."

At fifty-three years young, Judi Trush retired from her career as an elementary school teacher. She had the foresight to invest in RRSPs throughout her working life to ensure she could enjoy her retired life long after the bell rang on 33 years of teaching. Experience is the best teacher. Now she’s passing those lessons to her 3 grown children.

“We tell our kids that with RRSP contributions, nobody can take them away from you and that’s what is important,” Judi said. “You have to make sure unconditionally that you do protect yourself because anything can happen. You don’t know what the future holds so have money there to take care of yourself for anything.”

Judi and her husband Bryan shared a vision for the life they wanted to live together in retirement and they planned for it. They budgeted carefully. Bryan worked overtime whenever possible and she taught summer school before they started their family, allowing them a surplus specifically for investment.

“My husband was a General Motors worker and he could put chunks of money into his RRSP,” she explained. “I, being a teacher, wasn’t allowed to put in as much because my pension was going to be significant. Whenever I got my income tax, I would always max out my contribution amount every single year because it was a lower amount and then Bryan maxed out for whatever he was able too.”

She tells their adult children that whatever they can afford to invest, it matters, because it’s something more than nothing.

“Investing requires a disposable income … You have to have that money available to invest for yourself and have control over it,” she said.

“How do any of you guys get ahead? I guess the bottom line is if you don’t protect yourself, you’re not going to, so whatever you invest, no matter how little it is, it’s something more than nothing.”

So, when Judi’s 28 year-old daughter, a freelance set designer in the film and television industry, asked for investment advice, Judi’s experience paid off.

“We told her now is the time to invest. Don’t wait. The younger you are the better because if you can’t put a lot in this year there is always next year. Something is better than nothing,” Judi said. “You have to have money there to take care of yourself more than anything, and with RRSPs, no one can take that away from you.”

But her advice is not just to save, but to dream. She tells her children to be clear on what they want to do when they retire and how they’ll afford it. For Judi and Bryan, their top priority was to travel and that’s exactly what they’ve done.

“Without the RRSPs and the RIFFS we couldn’t do anything we’re doing now,” she said. “We travel with that money. It’s been pretty amazing for 5 years, I tell ya!”

Judi’s lesson plan for retirement got an A+. Will you make the grade?

Speak to a Meridian Wealth Advisor to discuss your retirement plans today.