Personal Finance

Should I consolidate my TFSA accounts?

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  • Apr 4th, 2021 8:56 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 27, 2009
747 posts
503 upvotes
Sask, Canada

Should I consolidate my TFSA accounts?

Since I started my personal finance journey a couple years ago I've opened many accounts. I like to keep things separated so I can visually see what is going on but that may be making things more complex than they really need to be. Looking for what others do. Here are my wife's and my TFSA accounts.

TFSA - My Retirement (Questrade)
TFSA - Wife Retirement (Questrade)
TFSA - Extra savings we don't know what to do with (Questrade)
TFSA - More Extra savings (Wealthsimple, was trying it out)
TFSA - Emergency Fund (Alterna, will probably be pulled out of TFSA this year for regular HISA)

We are 30 and 35 both with db pensions. We also have 10 years left on our mortgage. We hope to have both our TFSA's maxed by the end of next year. So one obvious thing we need help with is the money we're not sure what to do with. One idea is to build that fund up to 100k, then using the yearly gains towards vacations or other house projects, etc. Next should I consolidate these accounts into just one TFSA Account for each of us, then keep track on excel? For the most part I just purchase XEQT but I did pick up some bank stocks when they were cheap, all bank stocks are in our extra savings accounts.

I currently keep track of all transactions on a spreadsheet but as you can guess with multiple accounts makes it harder to keep straight. Would love to hear what others do.
13 replies
Deal Addict
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Feb 1, 2012
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I consolidated all my investments at one broker, at the same FI where I have my chequing account. I find it much more straightforward to have one login for all my investments. I have a couple of special purpose holdings within my non-registered broker account. First is a savings fund for large occasional expenses, including new vehicle, and housing replacement expenses like shingles, driveway, HVAC and major appliances. I keep that in Mawer Tax-effective Balanced Fund. I also have "mad money" that has no specific purpose but I could spend it on anything, like a boat, sports car, home renovations / upgrades, travel etc. I keep that in Mawer global equity fund. This is a good way for me to partition funds without having to open additional accounts.

I do also have 2 HISAs at online banks because the big banks simply do not give a reasonable rate on savings. One is an emergency fund and the other is a spending account (I am retired and have minimal income so my spending money is held in this account).
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Jr. Member
Mar 18, 2006
172 posts
111 upvotes
Paxonator wrote:
TFSA - My Retirement (Questrade)
TFSA - Wife Retirement (Questrade)
TFSA - Extra savings we don't know what to do with (Questrade)
TFSA - More Extra savings (Wealthsimple, was trying it out)
TFSA - Emergency Fund (Alterna, will probably be pulled out of TFSA this year for regular HISA)

I currently keep track of all transactions on a spreadsheet but as you can guess with multiple accounts makes it harder to keep straight. Would love to hear what others do.
I started like you...multiple accounts for TFSA, being tracked in Excel. It worked great, but the updating was quite the manual task. I have automated to the extent possible it as follows:

Passiv - since you use Questrade for a few accounts, Passiv gives you free access to their elite subscription (it used to be first year free, now free as long as you remain with Questrade). With Passiv, I can access various Questrade accounts with a single sign-on, and define various rules. You will have to get familiar with cash rules (which allow you to DCA) and turn on certain settings like (purchase or sell).

I have got to a point where, using my current portfolio mix, Passiv can recommend what I should buy (I still have to click buy, don't want to automate this part just yet).

Wealthica - this is primarily used to track network, but these guys can also connect to Questrade & Wealthsimple Trade and pull your positions automatically from multiple accounts. This tool is just a conslidated view of what you have, including cash (not sure if you can link Alterna HIA).

Using both of sites mentioned above, I have eliminated Excel all together (thus removing manual work every so often). Your info gets pulled from Questrade or WST using API's.

Question: who "owns" the extra savings TFSA, you or the wife? I didn't realize you could open multiple accounts with the same owner, at the same institute.
Last edited by sprinter on Apr 2nd, 2021 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sep 21, 2007
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I did that last year. I makes tracking for stuff WAY easier.
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Nov 18, 2007
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Fewer accounts! With pooled monies, re-investing is likely easier. With multiple accounts, small dividends in each account take a long time to accumulate before they can be used to purchase more stocks/ETFs.
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Aug 5, 2006
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I would keep more than 1 TFSA accounts with different FI's, simply as risk management. If 1 bank/FI gets hacked you'll still have immediate access to the other.
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scoper wrote: I would keep more than 1 TFSA accounts with different FI's, simply as risk management. If 1 bank/FI gets hacked you'll still have immediate access to the other.
TFSA imo is used for the sole purpose for investing.. If you need it emergency funds I wouldn't take out of TFSA but a HISA.
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 27, 2009
747 posts
503 upvotes
Sask, Canada
sprinter wrote: I started like you...multiple accounts for TFSA, being tracked in Excel. It worked great, but the updating was quite the manual task. I have automated to the extent possible it as follows:

Passiv - since you use Questrade for a few accounts, Passiv gives you free access to their elite subscription (it used to be first year free, now free as long as you remain with Questrade). With Passiv, I can access various Questrade accounts with a single sign-on, and define various rules. You will have to get familiar with cash rules (which allow you to DCA) and turn on certain settings like (purchase or sell).

I have got to a point where, using my current portfolio mix, Passiv can recommend what I should buy (I still have to click buy, don't want to automate this part just yet).

Wealthica - this is primarily used to track network, but these guys can also connect to Questrade & Wealthsimple Trade and pull your positions automatically from multiple accounts. This tool is just a conslidated view of what you have, including cash (not sure if you can link Alterna HIA).

Using both of sites mentioned above, I have eliminated Excel all together (thus removing manual work every so often). Your info gets pulled from Questrade or WST using API's.

Question: who "owns" the extra savings TFSA, you or the wife? I didn't realize you could open multiple accounts with the same owner, at the same institute.
Thanks, I'll check these out! They sound interesting.

We each own one of the extra savings accounts. As far as I know you can have as many accounts as you want. Just gotta make sure not to over contribute.
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Oct 24, 2010
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faken wrote: TFSA imo is used for the sole purpose for investing.. If you need it emergency funds I wouldn't take out of TFSA but a HISA.
Depends.

If you don't have enough cash to max out the TFSA with investments, it makes sense to hold your emergency fund in one until you do. No tax on 1.5% is better than tax on 1.5%.

It sounds to me like that's what OP has been doing.
Sr. Member
Oct 2, 2017
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faken wrote: TFSA imo is used for the sole purpose for investing.. If you need it emergency funds I wouldn't take out of TFSA but a HISA.
Asking for my own knowledge, doesn't a hisa get taxed on the interest?
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Sep 14, 2012
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azmongold wrote: Asking for my own knowledge, doesn't a hisa get taxed on the interest?
Yes, it does but that doesn't necessarily mean that a high interest savings account should be used in a TFSA.

I believe I'm of the same financial mindset as @faken. I use my TFSA for primarily for investing (on average, my investments there have a 5+ year time horizon). It is maxed out so when keeping something for emergency funds where I might need the money next week, I would much rather take it out of my (high interest) savings account since once removed, I can't replace it until the following calendar year. It also means I don't have to track the withdrawals throughout the year so that I can top it up the following calendar year.

Also, if I need $1k, taking it out of a savings account, I know that it is $1k but if I take it out of my TFSA, my $1k might have had a book value of $1050 which would mean a "permanent" loss of $50. Right now, my TFSA has a few riskier investments which have a book value of $1000 but are worth ~$950. I just invested in it in January and plan on keeping it for at least 5 years and my risk tolerance and when I will need my "TFSA" money tolerates the amount of fluctuations that I have in the riskier investment.
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Oct 24, 2010
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azmongold wrote: Asking for my own knowledge, doesn't a hisa get taxed on the interest?
Yes, but you can hold an HISA within a TFSA, where interest won't be taxed. So if you have TFSA room but not enough money to both have an emergency fund and max out the TFSA with investments, it makes sense to hold a HISA within the TFSA for your emergency fund.
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Sep 14, 2012
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Montreal, QC
Paxonator wrote: Since I started my personal finance journey a couple years ago I've opened many accounts. I like to keep things separated so I can visually see what is going on but that may be making things more complex than they really need to be. Looking for what others do. Here are my wife's and my TFSA accounts.

TFSA - My Retirement (Questrade)
TFSA - Wife Retirement (Questrade)
TFSA - Extra savings we don't know what to do with (Questrade)
TFSA - More Extra savings (Wealthsimple, was trying it out)
TFSA - Emergency Fund (Alterna, will probably be pulled out of TFSA this year for regular HISA)

We are 30 and 35 both with db pensions. We also have 10 years left on our mortgage. We hope to have both our TFSA's maxed by the end of next year. So one obvious thing we need help with is the money we're not sure what to do with. One idea is to build that fund up to 100k, then using the yearly gains towards vacations or other house projects, etc. Next should I consolidate these accounts into just one TFSA Account for each of us, then keep track on excel? For the most part I just purchase XEQT but I did pick up some bank stocks when they were cheap, all bank stocks are in our extra savings accounts.

I currently keep track of all transactions on a spreadsheet but as you can guess with multiple accounts makes it harder to keep straight. Would love to hear what others do.
I personally think that if you have a certain account (and that applies to TFSA as well) allocated to a certain thing/purchase you can/should have it separately if it makes it easier for you to track. For example, I have a high interest savings account for my vacation funds which is a certain percentage of my net bi-weekly salary and I have another high interest savings account that I have for general (or emergency) reasons.

I have a spreadsheet that tracks how much I have in each account and each type of account (ex: TFSA, RRSP, etc.), I can easily get the values regardless of the fact that my RRSP is in 4 different types of accounts and within 2 different financial institutions but just looking at the tab in my spreadsheet that has only the RRSP values, etc.

For me, the only benefit that I see in consolidating is if you get better service or lower fees by consolidating. For example, a TD Direct Investing account has a quarterly fee of $25 if the assets in the account are not above $15k (there are other ways to bypass this fee) and if one has a TD Direct Investing account and wants to keep it yet only has $7k in it but has another $8k in a different investment account, it might make sense to consolidate it at TD Direct Investing.

I can easily track the monies (which I do) on my spreadsheet. I track my investments once a month.
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Sep 21, 2007
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The point of having emergency fund is just that.. to be accessible right away. If your TFSA is lets say in a financial institution and it takes 1-3 days to withdrawal but you need it right away.. what is the point. I'm not saying putt a large chunk.. I have my HISA separate from everything else for that reason.

I feel like if you're using TFSA for savings only.. you're not maximizing the full potential out of this account. Just let your money work for you in there instead of gaining 1.5%..

Also if you are worried about being taxed so much from the interest.. IMO that's too much money you are not putting into something that would make you a more return in TFSA (index growth etf's, growth etf's, dividend stocks).

Everyone's situation is different.
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