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Well the signs are all around us – literally, in some cases. Every paper is lined with ‘how-to’ articles. Every bank is mailing out packages and pamphlets. I’m actually surprised that there aren’t people going door-to-door! There’s just no way to escape the fact that it’s officially RRSP season.

For those that have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, February 29th is the official deadline for all RRSP contributions. Be there or be square is the prevailing message. There’s no grace period or second chances. If you miss it, well, you better focus on next year.

Sadly, that may be where I fall.

Having just recently gotten out of debt, I’ve been slowly compiling my shekels for an Emergency Fund, first and foremost. I’ve had close friends recently out of work, and have realized just how vital it is to have something to fall back on (just in case). I’m using a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) to house this money, and have routinely been contributing around $300-$500 a month. The TFSA is fantastic, in that it pays decent interest, doesn’t get taxed upon withdrawal, and allows for up to $5,000 a year in contribution room. Seeing how I haven’t really used this savings option since it kicked off in 2009, I can contribute up to $20,000 at this point! Not bad at all.

With that being said, I just don’t have a chunk of money right now to flip into an RRSP. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been throwing 7% of each paycheque into a Group RRSP (which is matched by my employer), but that’s about it. I’m pleased with my progress to date, but ‘Compound Interest’ is just so attractive that I want to start immediately, and I can’t help feeling like this is a missed opportunity.

The silver lining, I guess, is that I can focus on contributing throughout this year, and really get my financial feet under me before I start allotting significant pools of money into long-term savings’ vehicles. If I’m consistent, I have no doubt that I’ll be in good shape by 2013.

What are your thoughts on RRSPs? What factors should be considered before contributing?