Making Voluntary Contributions
In addition to the Required Contributions you make to your pension plan, Western allows members to make additional monthly contributions that can enhance your retirement income. It’s important to understand how these Voluntary Contributions work, and how they can help you meet your retirement goals.
- “Voluntary Contributions” are similar to RRSP contributions, but they come off your pay and are added directly to your pension balance.
- Because Voluntary Contributions are taken from “pre-tax” dollars, income tax deducted from your pay will be lower to reflect the amount you are committing to your pension. In essence, you will receive an immediate tax benefit on every pay, unlike an RRSP contribution where the refund comes the following year.
- Voluntary contributions taken from your pay are cashable. This means you have the ability to cash out these savings should the need arise. Sun Life charges active members of the plan an administration fee of $25 per withdrawal. As well, funds withdrawn in cash become taxable immediately so some tax would be withheld.
- Voluntary contributions can be started, stopped or changed at any time. This can be done online at sunlife.ca/western or by contacting the Sun Life Financial Customer Care Centre at 1-866-733-8612 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET on any business day. Please allow 1-2 pays for the changes to take effect.
- Voluntary contributions will be invested the same way as your regular member contributions.
- As they work much like an RRSP, Canada Revenue Agency sets a maximum amount you can contribute to your pension account. Total contributions for each year, including those made by Western, your Required Contributions and your Voluntary Contributions must not be more than 18 percent of pay or a specific dollar limit set annually by the government, whichever is lower. (See CRA table for current amounts)
- Voluntary Contributions are not considered when calculating any benefit under Western’s Supplemental Pension Arrangement. If you participate in this plan, you should seek qualified advice when considering Voluntary Contributions.
- To transfer your funds from your Voluntary account on a tax-sheltered basis to a personal LIRA or RRSP, or;
- To withdraw your non locked-in voluntary contributions, contact the Sun Life Financial Customer Care Centre at 1-866-733-8612.
- The Western Pension Plan accepts direct transfers from RRSP and LIRA accounts, as well as certain types of transfers from other pension plans. If you have money at a former employer, or RRSPs outside Western that you would like to transfer into your account please contact the Sun Life Financial Customer Care Centre at 1-866-733-8612.