March 10, 2020

The Ultimate TFSA Guide


Gordon Pape, a Canadian financial author, gives a primer on how tax-free savings accounts should be the foundation of every Canadian adult’s plan for financial independence.

TFSAs were implemented in Canada on January 1, 2009. Since then, many Canadians have been able to set aside up to $63,500 in tax-free money. In addition, any growth accumulated in the plan does not incur any tax and the sum total can be transferred tax free to a surviving spouse or common-law partner. Cash can be taken out of the plan at any time tax-free. Upon death, beneficiaries can receive the assets of a TFSA tax-free and the plan would then be terminated.

This book is an easy read. The book is divided into sixteen chapters and is well structured. Most chapters end with a summary to review the major concepts and outline strategies one should undertake. It gives a history of TFSAs, its basic rules, and the ‘magic’ of TFSAs. It compares registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), explains the practical uses of TFSAs, gives tax-saving approaches, and gives tax-relief advice for seniors. One chapter is dedicated to estate planning: the highlight is that money generated in TFSAs does not attract any tax at death. According to Pape, one of the priorities of older people who want to maximize the after-death value of their estates should be to move as much money as possible from non-registered investment accounts into TFSAs.

Other chapters include topics on how to invest, dangers with TFSAs to be avoided, and choosing a plan. The book ends by answering common questions provided to the author by interested readers.

Gordon Pape has written at least three books on TFSAs. The one reviewed here is his second, and his third book is called Tax-Free Savings Accounts Revised Edition: How TFSAs Can Make You Rich.

Pape promotes tax-free savings accounts as the most powerful investment option for Canadians since the introduction of RRSPs more than a half-century ago. Properly managed, they offer an opportunity for even modest-income earners to amass a small fortune over time — and perhaps even attain millionaire status.

The Ultimate TFSA Guide: Strategies for Building a Tax-Free Fortune
Gordon Pape
Toronto: Penguin Canada. 2010