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The RDSP Calculator in action

24 February 2015
Author: Joel Crocker
“Follow me!!” shouted Tanya to her brother, while bursting through a huge snowdrift near the top of Gold Pan, her favourite run at Whitewater Ski Resort. “That was amazing!” she beamed as they skidded to a halt near the chairlift. Tanya’s faced was radiant as she took in the beauty of BC’s Selkirk mountain peaks all around her. If she could, she’d spend all of her time and money on the hill.

Skiing can get expensive though, and aside from some provincial disability income, Tanya only makes about $20,000 a year at her job to pay for all the equipment, season passes and transportation from Nelson to the hill and back. Not to mention paying for accommodations. Luckily for Tanya, her parents are happy to pitch in to help her pursue her passions.

Tanya’s parents and family are confident that they can help contribute to provide a good life for Tanya while they’re alive and able. For later on, when they know they won’t be around, they are looking to a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) to help provide the means to secure her future and make sure she has enough to enjoy her later years.

Tanya’s family is close, and at their last get-together, starting an RDSP for her was a main topic of discussion. Her parents set a goal of providing her with at least $1,500 a month of extra income before she turns 50.

The family understands there are generous federal “grant and bond” contributions available for RDSPs, but aren’t entirely sure how these work or what the amounts are. They also know that there will be some interest growth in the plan from investments, but aren’t so clear on what that would look like, and overall, just how much Tanya and her family need to contribute to her RDSP to reach the $1,500 a month goal.

Fortunately there’s an easy solution. Tanya’s family turned to the RDSP Calculator developed by Prosper Canada and PLAN:

By inputting Tanya’s age and income level, they started to play with the numbers to learn just how much they would need to contribute to both maximize government contributions and reach their savings goals.

The RDSP Calculator quickly revealed that for only $125 a month, over 20 years, Tanya’s RDSP would earn over $625,000! This would provide her with a minimum of $1,500 a month by age 49, and would last all the way into her 80’s. She can also withdraw large chunks of money per year for any major expenses like for medical equipment, a down payment, or maybe a big trip.

Try it out for yourself. Here’s the breakdown:
  • Tanya’s age: 25 years
  • Year the RDSP was opened and she qualified for the Disability Tax Credit: 2008
  • Annual income: $20,000. (Tanya’s low income triggers a matching government bond of $1,000 a year!)
  • Annual family contribution: $125 a month (or $1,500 a year, which triggers matching government grants of $3,500 a year!)
  • Total family contributions to age 38: $31,500
  • Value of Grant: $70,000 (that’s the maximum)
  • Value of Bond: $20,000 (that’s the maximum)
  • Investments: moderate risk up to age 60 and conservative afterwards
  • Age to begin receiving from the plan: 49 years
  • Approximate total value of the RDSP: $627,600
  • Approximate annual payments after age 49: $18,460
That’s over $1,500 in income every month for Tanya!

Tanya’s parents slept well that night knowing that they would be able to help provide a safe and secure future and a good life for Tanya even after they were gone.

There are an infinite number of combinations depending on how much you contribute and when. To try the calculator, please visit

To READ about the RDSP, please visit PLAN’s RDSP tutorial at or call PLAN’s RDSP hotline at 1-844-311-PLAN.


Joel Crocker is the Director of Policy and Planning at PLAN. His focus is on disability-related legislation at the provincial and federal government levels, professional partnerships, and various family-lead future planning projects.

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