Canadians don’t understand TFSAs

By Staff | March 12, 2013 | Last updated on September 15, 2023
1 min read

More than half of Canadians (52%) don’t have a tax-free savings account (TFSA), reports ING DIRECT.

Further, 44% only have a vague idea about how a TFSA works, and 19% say they don’t understand it at all.

Read: Thousands break TFSA rules

But a lack of knowledge isn’t the main reason why Canadians haven’t opened an account—it’s not having any money to contribute (53%). In fact, another 53% report live paycheck to paycheck.

Read: TFSA holders aren’t investing

“Since its launch, TFSAs have been a great way to reach short-term and long-term savings goals and provide flexibility that other investment options, like RSPs don’t,” says Peter Aceto, president and CEO, ING DIRECT.

He adds, “With a TFSA, there’s no tax implication when you withdraw funds, and you don’t lose your contribution room over the long term. But many people are still unaware of these rules.”

Read: Ask questions before opening TFSAs

Additional findings include:

  • 31% have no intention of opening a TFSA this year or next;
  • of those with a TFSA, 35% have made withdrawals;
  • saving for retirement is the primary reason 38% have opened a TFSA;
  • 24% of younger Canadians use a TFSA as an emergency fund; 19% are use it to save for a down payment on a house;
  • Retirement Savings Plans (RSPs) top the list as preferred investments. staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.