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I'm looking to open a Tax Free Savings Account. Where is a good place to open one? Which kind of Tax Free Savings Account would you recommend?

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    Hi Elaine, welcome to the Money StackExchange! We could help you better if you gave us more specifics about what taxes you are trying to avoid and what you would consider "good". We try to avoid subjective questions here and focus on questions that have definable answers. – Michael Pryor Jan 12 '11 at 15:40
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    @MichaelPryor (Canada's TFSA works like the U.S. Roth IRA: Taxes that can be avoided with a TFSA include interest, dividends, and capital gains on all investments held within the account.) – Chris W. Rea Jan 12 '11 at 18:20
  • Hi @MichaelPryor, I guess there are many different types of TFSA's and I'm not too sure which one is the best choice to get the max for my money. If a TFSA money market or a regular savings account. I guess this is more of a subjective question. Thanks for your help. – Elaine T Jan 12 '11 at 19:41
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The main question you need to answer is what you will be using the TFSA for. Are you looking to invest or for medium-term savings? Certainly not for short-term savings, as you shouldn't be depositing and withdrawing too many times in a year. It will be necessary to keep track of transactions such that you don't overcontribute for the year and have to pay hefty interest on it. See this post at RFD about that.

Now, for medium-term savings it makes more sense to open a TFSA at a local bank branch. Note, however, that most banks have a transfer-out fee. Say you decide you want to open a TFSA for a different purpose (i.e. investing) and don't have any more contribution room. You can't withdraw from the old and deposit into the new because that option wouldn't be available until the next year. You would need to fill out a transfer out form, and the outgoing bank might charge $50 or so to transfer your money. Having said that, saving cash for the 3-5 year timeframe may be best in the TFSA, although it's arguable how much tax you'll really save on a 1.5% return.

My personal opinion is that it's best to work a TFSA into an overall investing plan. There's no need to get some random TFSA account just because you don't have one. Given how few Canadians know this, I'm going to guess that you are not aware that you can hold the full gamut of investments in a TFSA that an RRSP can hold.

I hope this post gives you some insight into the possibilities of a TFSA. If anything, it should allow you to post more detailed questions about having a TFSA here. I hope that it doesn't have the reverse effect of scaring you away from getting a TFSA, as it certainly is one of the most powerful ways of saving money these days if it is done right.

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I have TFSA with ING, it's literally a Tax Free Savings Account. I put cash in and I pay no tax on the interest. I use this for my emergency fund.
I'm thinking about opening a TFSA with TD and filling it with e-series Funds (very low fee index trackers) http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/mutualfunds/tdeseriesfunds/mer_diff.jsp This will be for longer term savings.
If you're a high rate tax payer and/or have children paying money into an RRSP or an RESP might be a good option for you

  • I am also considering opening a TFSA with TD and filling it with e-series index funds because the MER is so low (0.3%) – eniacAvenger Nov 4 '14 at 16:46
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Given how basic your question is - I'm going to say your local bank branch.

While there are TFSA's that are like investment accounts, this may well not be what you are after.

Simplest to at least get started feels an awful lot like a savings account - just deposit and away you go - any taxable interest or other income inside the account is tax free.

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