TFSA: Set Up, but with a Catch?


Remember that the TFSA started in about 2009, and setting it up initially was never easy. Today it is easier, but there are more pit falls in setting them up (getting stuck in a Bank Mutual Fund account, or even worse). Setting up an account with TD Direct Line wasn’t that simple.

Mrs. Caj and I, just before Christmas, stopped by our TD branch to set up a TFSA account. We assumed we would be setting up a joint account, so we made sure that both of us were there (in the past I have set up accounts without Mrs. Caj and adding her later has always been a big issue, so this time we made sure both of us were present).

We dealt with our customary customer representative, andthe first thing we foundout is that the TFSA is actually an account for a single person, OK, good to know that. We also found out that my wife and I can set up accounts so we can actually shelter $10,000 a year instead of just $5,000 which is a good thing.

Our next knowledge point was that the TFSA is actually not going to be set up until January 2nd, which I assumed would be the case, so we were in fact only “pre-registering” for the investment vehicle.

TD offers a bunch of different TFSA vehicles, but I had already decided that a true investment account with TD Waterhouse gives me the most flexibility, so that is the vehicle we used for the TFSA. Half way through signing a bunch of documents another important knowledge point was divulged by our Customer Service agent, evidently with a TD Waterhouse TFSA there is a $50.00 service charge every year.

I was lucky that my wife was present because I am sure I would have said “WTF!”, but I asked for the rep to repeat  what she had said, and she said that since this is a TD Waterhouse account there is a $50 fee every year (on top of all stock purchase fees and such), however, if I E-Register this fee would be waived (I am not clear if it is waived in perpetuity or just this year), so I will be E-registering, but this one point threw me for a bit of a loop.

So from this, gentle reader, I hope you have learned a few of the pit falls and points you should be taking into consideration when you go and set up your TFSA account with your savings institution of choice.


  • lilolme January 18, 2012, 7:48 PM

    I’m still learning all about finances…but as far as I know, aren’t investments such as stocks not covered by the CDIC?
    Does having them in your TFSA shelter them somehow from not being covered?

    • bigcajunman January 18, 2012, 8:40 PM

      According to this site http://www.cdic.ca/e/coveredornot/tfsa_covered.html the only things in your TFSA that are CDIC covered are:

      What’s covered?

      From $1 to $100,000 of the total amount in the following accounts and financial products held in a TFSA.


      Savings accounts
      Financial products

      GICs or other term deposits with an original term to maturity of 5 years or less
      Debentures issued by loan companies

      And only if the institution is a CDIC member too, check with your bank before making any assumptions!!!!, i.e. I am not an expert, and you should check with one first.

  • Jim Yih January 13, 2011, 12:15 PM

    Don’t you just love the banks mentality on service? If you come in an talk to me in person so that we can develop relationship, I’ll charge you.

    or wouldn’t it have been nice if they said this, “Hey Mr and Mrs Caj. Since we’ve already gone through the paperwork and instead of making you go home and repeating this paper work online, let me see if I can get the fee waived here and save you a little time.”

    What happened to good service and common sense?

    • bigcajunman January 13, 2011, 12:21 PM

      It all costs money baby, is the response I get back from my Bank contacts. If you can’t bill your time, you aren’t going to be allowed to give it out. Sickening mentality for a service industry.

  • Newbie January 7, 2009, 11:39 AM

    I was told by a TD rep that e-Services only offers a limited selection of investments that can be purchased. Unfortunately I am new to all of this, so I went ahead with setting up the regular TD Waterhouse TFSA account anyway. I haven’t put in any money yet, so can I still back out of it? I would like to avoid the $50 fee if possible — that’s essentially 1% of the full $5000!

  • Potato January 2, 2009, 5:17 AM

    It means you have to sign up for TD’s e-services, so you will only get your statements and tax documents electronically — saves them on postage. There’s a link to “e-services” at the top of your webbroker page when signed in.

    You can still trade via the phone/talkbroker (and in fact, this will be the only way to trade in a TFSA for the first month), but the commissions for that are higher than online.

  • WSS December 30, 2008, 7:17 AM

    remember to also inquire about the termination fees that are imposed on TFSA’s

  • Liz December 29, 2008, 8:52 AM

    I wasn’t impressed with TD’s $50 a year charge, so I won’t be setting up my TFSA with them.

  • Michael James December 29, 2008, 8:18 AM

    What does “E-register” mean in this case? Does it mean applying for and setting up the account online?

    • bigcajunman December 29, 2008, 8:35 AM

      My guess is it means I will only use the on line capabilities of TD Waterhouse, which seems odd, since that is what I do all the time, however, we shall see!


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