Wondering what to do with your RRSP? You can read articles in the press or visit a financial advisor. For a change of pace, let's look at what other individuals are doing with their RRSPs. Perhaps their examples can provide some ideas.

What follows are short descriptions of the RRSP plans of over a dozen people. By no means is it intended to be a representative sample. It loads, in fact, rather heavily on financial bloggers because they tend to be more open when it comes to talking about personal finances.

What others are doing this RRSP Season
"I still have loads of contribution room in my RRSP, but it's just not a priority for me any longer," says Robb Engen, a 32-year-old business development manager and the Echo in the Boomer and Echo blog. After contributing to a Group RRSP for years, he changed employers and now has a defined-benefit pension. Moreover, Engen and his wife are building a new house and want to concentrate on paying down their (bigger) mortgage faster.

"I didn't make any RRSP contributions this year," discloses Larry Bellehumeur, 38, a vice president of business development at Novotech Technologies. He had to put a fair amount of equity into his business. And his RRSP has grown to where it is at risk of pushing his retirement income into higher tax brackets. He now prefers real estate, TFSAs and non-registered accounts. "Also, I never liked the idea of not being able to claim capital losses in an RRSP."

"Both my wife and I are making RRSP contributions this year," comments Mark Seed a process manager and author of the My Own Advisor blog. The thirty-something couple has made their deposits automatic through pre-authorized deductions: this way, "we're not as apt to spend it." The tax refund will go toward the mortgage on their new house. For good measure, they added a bond ETF to their RRSP to rebalance after the recent run-up in stocks.

Mark Goodfield, 51, a partner at mid-tier accounting firm Cunningham LLP just made a contribution to his RRSP at CIBC Investor's Edge. In the past, he has emphasized investments in small- and mid-cap stocks but now intends to move toward a more conservative portfolio. "I just went to cash for now as I am weary of the stock market near term," he reports. Goodfield describes some of the peaks and valleys of his investing in The Blunt Bean Counter .

Early contributions start the tax-free compounding of returns sooner. "My RRSP contributions for 2010 are long done," declares Ram Balakrishnan, an engineer and writer of the Canadian Capitalist blog. "The bulk of the contributions last year went to the Vanguard Europe Pacific ETF (VEA) and the iShares Canadian Short Bond ETF (XSB). The asset classes that these ETF represent were below my target allocation, so that's where the contributions went."

Alan Whitton, who landed a job in the federal government last year after many years working at Nortel Networks, "just bought into the Public Service Pension Fund, so not much money is left to buy RRSPs." Any extra funds, reveals the 50-year-old Canadian Personal Finance blogger, goes into his TFSA, mortgage and tuition fees for his daughters at university. But the major goal is paying down debt.

With his all-stock portfolio invested in equity-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs), Michael Wiener, a cryptographer and blogger at Michael James on Money , had a relatively easy time deciding where to put his RRSP contribution this year. He likes "to maintain his asset allocation by buying whatever is low," hence his purchase of the iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index ETF "to get me back into balance against my small-cap index ETFs."

He is no longer a fan of RRSPs. "Most of my family are entrepreneurs and tend not to retire early. If I follow the same path, I'll have to pay income tax at my marginal rate when I withdraw funds from my RRSP because I may still be working when I am 71," says Newfoundland-based engineer Fred Penney, 44. And as discussed on his blog, ETF2X.com , his style of investing — following trends in ETFs — calls for leverage, which is verboten in RRSPs. Plus he trades a lot of U.S. ETFs and the currency conversion fees are killers in RRSPs.

Brad Ferris, 29, blogs at Triaging My Way , whenever he's not busy with consulting work in the health and business fields. Newly married, he is contributing to a spousal RRSP that is invested Canadian Couch Potato-style in TD e-Series index mutual funds. Also, as part of repaying a Home Buyers Plan loan, he added to the cash position in his RRSP portfolio of foreign dividend stocks, awaiting better values before investing. Lastly, he plans to allocate savings to an additional two mortgage payments on his new house.

Software developer and Invest it Wisely blogger, Kevin Brothaler, 27, conveys the following: "I am currently making a contribution to my RRSP via my work-place match. I am able to match up to 5% of my salary, so it would be a mistake for me not to take advantage of this." He will be contributing to his TFSA with savings left over.

"I make a bi-weekly RRSP contribution throughout the year to my U.S. and International TD e-Series Funds," says Tom Drake who is in his early thirties and runs the Canadian Finance Blog . "I keep the foreign investments in my RRSP as it shelters those investments from non-resident withholding taxes, whereas the TFSA does not. So far I've stayed away from most of the major Canadian dividend stocks as I plan to start a non-registered account soon to invest in those, benefiting from the dividend tax credit."

In his mid-twenties Arjun Rudra works in the investment industry and operates InvestingThesis.com . He added a small amount to his RRSP, buying shares in TSO3 (which he expects to receive a takeover offer from partner 3M). Mostly, though, because of his age and tax bracket, he is adding funds to his TFSA -- where investments include the speculative (to maximize capital gains) and stable large-cap dividend-paying names (to take advantage of compounding dividend growth and some capital gains)."

"I will be making the maximum allowable RRSP contribution this year," passes on physiotherapist Swapnil Rege, 28. He plans on putting half of it into value stocks and the rest into a more conservative holding because he wants to use it, under the Home Buyers Plan, toward a downpayment on a future home.

Information is current as of the original date of publication.

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