It’s one of the perks of being comfortably retired after years spent building a career and raising a family, you now have the luxury of making personal choices. Like heading back to school to develop new skills, reawaken a life-long dream, explore new interests or to learn just for the pure joy of it.

Every education choice has a cost. That’s why your retirement plan should include the funding that will allow you to return to the classroom. Here are a few options to get you going back to school:

Expand your RRSP eligible investments You already know that a balanced, retirement-funding investment strategy should include Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) eligible investments, the best tax-deferred, retirement-savings builder for most Canadians. Consider expanding your RRSP investment strategy to provide a money source for the extra costs of your return to education.

Borrow from your RRSP Through the government’s Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP), you can withdraw up to $20,000 from your RRSP eligible investments for qualifying forms of training and education. But this is an option you don’t want to rush into because you are required to repay your LLP withdrawals within a 10-year period or they become taxable and you’ll also lose the significant tax-deferred growth those savings could have provided if left inside your RRSP for those 10 years. Repayments cannot be made after the end of the year in which you turn 71, so if you still have a balance at that time, you’ll have to pay tax on it.

Establish a TFSA Any Canadian over 18 can save up to $5,000 a year in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) eligible account. TFSA contributions are not tax-deductible but the investment earnings are tax-sheltered and taxes are not applied to withdrawals. Could be a good way to save for your education expenses.

Establish your own RESP People of any age can benefit from the tax-deferred savings offered by a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) eligible investments although, as an older student, you will not receive the added benefit of the Canadian Education Savings Grant* and other government grants that are available only to younger plan beneficiaries. Still, you may be in a lower tax bracket when you make your withdrawals to go back to school, so the tax deferral may result in you paying less tax than you would if you had invested outside the RESP.

*The Canada Education Savings Grant and Canada Learning Bond (CLB) are provided by the Government of Canada. CLB eligibility depends on family income levels. Some provinces make education savings grants available to their residents.

This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Québec – a Financial Services Firm), and Investors Group Securities Inc. (in Québec, a firm in Financial Planning) presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact your Investors Group Consultant.

Contact David Brown at 250-315-0241 or at [email protected] to book your appointment.