Government of Nova Scotia, Canada
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Increasing Your Personal Retirement Savings

Canada has a three-branch system of pension savings:

  • Canada Pension Plan/Old Age Security
  • employment pension plans
  • personal savings

At retirement, these three sources should provide you with an income of at least 70 per cent of the annual employment earnings you had before retiring. At that level you should be able to maintain your current standard of living. Personal RRSP savings are therefore an important part of your retirement strategy.

If you are a member of a pension plan, you probably are not contributing all that you are allowed under the income tax limits unless you are a very high earner. That means you have room to contribute more and be better prepared for your retirement. If you are not in a pension plan or group RRSP, then your entire contribution limit is available for personal RRSP contributions.

Here is an example of an individual who belongs to a pension plan, but could still benefit from making contributions to his personal RRSP:


Peter's employer provides a defined contribution pension plan to which Peter contributes at a rate of four per cent of his earnings. His employer matches his contributions. Peter's earnings are $30,000 this year.

Peter's RRSP room under the Income Tax Act: $30,000 x 18 per cent = $5,400

Peter's pension plan contributions: $30,000 x 4 per cent = $1,200

Employer's matching contributions: $1,200

Total pension plan contributions this year for Peter: $2,400

Remaining RRSP room: $5,400 - $2,400 = $3,000

Therefore, if Peter chose to make the maximum RRSP contribution that he is allowed to make under the Income Tax Act limits, he could more than double the contributions that both he and his employer made to his pension plan.

If your earnings are low, you may not need to save for retirement. The public pensions you receive at retirement may replace more than 70 per cent of your pre-retirement earnings.

Orange ClockFor More Information

Mailing Address:
Finance and Treasury Board
Pension Regulation Division
PO Box 2531
Halifax, NS  B3J 3N5

Phone: 902-424-8915
Fax: 902-424-5327

Finance and Treasury Board
Pension Regulation Division
1723 Hollis St, 4th Floor
Halifax, NS  B3J 1V9