Canadians held a total of $298.1 billion in their TFSAs in 2018, with the average TFSA holder having $20,292, according to statistics released by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on Wednesday.
The figures reflect the total fair market value (FMV) of all TFSAs at the end of the 2018 contribution year, the most recent year for which the CRA has statistics.
Total assets held in TFSAs was up 7.7% from 2017, when the total FMV of all TFSAs was $276.7 billion. The average FMV of assets held in TFSAs per individual TFSA holder was up 3.4% from the previous year, when it was $19,633.
The average unused TFSA contribution room in 2018 was $34,165, up 10.4% from 2017 when the average unused room was $30,947.
TFSA holders under the age of 30 held $15.2 billion in TFSAs in 2018, up 2.5% from the previous year.
TFSAs are gaining in popularity among younger clients, says Graham Priest, an investment advisor with BlueShore Financial in Vancouver.
“They like the flexibility of TFSAs for savings,” Priest said. “They don’t get taxed on withdrawals, and they don’t lose contribution room [as with RRSPs].”
Amounts withdrawn from a TFSA are added to unused contribution room in the following year.
According to the CRA, there were 20.8 million TFSAs in 2018, held by 14.7 million TFSA holders, for an average of 1.4 accounts per holder.
That was up from 19.5 million TFSAs in 2017, held by 14.1 million TFSA holders, for an average of 1.38 accounts per holder.
In 2018, 1.41 million TFSA holders had maximized contributions, down 1.5% from the previous year.
In November, the federal government announced that the TFSA contribution limit for 2021 was $6,000, the same dollar amount set for 2020.
With the announcement, the total contribution room available for someone in 2021 who has never contributed and has been eligible for the TFSA since its introduction in 2009 is $75,500.