The Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a cornerstone of retirement planning in Canada, offering significant tax advantages to help Canadians save for their future. Established by the Canadian government, the RRSP is not just a savings account but a long-term financial strategy designed to support individuals as they transition into retirement.

At its core, the RRSP allows Canadians to contribute a portion of their income each year, up to a certain limit, into a tax-deferred account. This means that any contributions made to an RRSP are deductible from the individual's taxable income for that year, effectively reducing their immediate tax burden. The contribution limit is subject to change annually and is generally determined as a percentage of the previous year's income, with a maximum cap set by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The true benefit of an RRSP lies in its tax-deferred growth. Investments within an RRSP – which can include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, GICs, and other investment vehicles – grow tax-free until withdrawal. This allows the investments to compound over time without the drag of annual taxes on interest, dividends, or capital gains.

Withdrawals from an RRSP are taxed as income at the time of withdrawal. The idea is that individuals will be in a lower tax bracket during retirement compared to their working years, making the tax impact less significant. It's important to note that mandatory withdrawals begin at the end of the year in which the holder turns 71, at which point the RRSP must be converted into a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) or used to purchase an annuity.

RRSPs are also versatile in supporting other financial goals. For instance, the Home Buyers' Plan allows individuals to borrow from their RRSP to buy or build a first home, while the Lifelong Learning Plan permits withdrawals to fund education or training for the account holder or their spouse.

However, RRSPs are not without their limitations. Over-contributing beyond the allowable limit can result in penalties, and early withdrawals (outside of specific programs like the Home Buyers' Plan) can lead to significant tax implications.

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