In a final act of desperation, many consumers resort to the one last asset they have left but fear losing if they have to file a bankruptcy…their RRSP account. People end up tapping into their future retirement savings to pay creditors or subsidize their living expenses if no money is left after debt payments. But consumers have told me that one of the main reasons why they felt the need to deplete their accounts is the fear that the bankruptcy Trustee will take their RRSPs and so the thought is, why not clean out the account first before the Trustee does.
Before you dip into your retirement savings, you need to know that bankruptcy has no interest in your RRSPs. People are surprised to hear that there is protection given under provincial and pension legislation for RRSPs, LIRAs and pensions which prevents the seizure of these funds. Knowing this vital information ahead of time can prevent the depletion of retirement savings that has, for most people, taken years to build. I am seeing more and more people who’ve cashed out their RRSPs before filing a bankruptcy which not only resulted in eliminating their retirement plan but created a tax liability to Canada Revenue Agency. Don’t add to your debt load… keep your RRSPs for retirement since that was the intention, and still must be, of banking your hard earned dollars.
Start planning a way to deal with your debt…but plan to keep your RRSPs.
Freida Richer, Trustee in Bankruptcy