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Empire Life Blog Maximizing FHSA contributions to help buy a home sooner

Amina and Sanjay are a young Canadian couple looking forward to buying their first home. They both have satisfying jobs and are financially savvy. Through Amina’s grandfather they were introduced to an advisor who told them about the First Home Savings Account (FHSA), and they think it’s a good way to save for a home. 

Case Study: Amina and Sanjay 

Amina and Sanjay want to max out their FHSAs within five years. They plan to contribute the maximum $8,000 per year to their own FHSA, so they each get to the $40,000 lifetime contribution limit in five years.Only the FHSA account holder can directly contribute to their own account and claim the FHSA contribution to help reduce their taxable income. The couple got a financial boost when Amina’s grandparents gave them $10,000 as a wedding gift. They decided to use it as part of their first year contribution. 

Decorative Magnifying GlassAlthough it was a challenge to save, the plan goes smoothly except for Year 3 when Amina couldn’t contribute the full $8,000 due to an unforeseen expense. She was able to get back on track in Year 4 by using up all the participation room that was available to her, without overcontributing and incurring a penalty.2

Amina and Sanjay’s plan in action 

Year Amina’s contributions Sanjay’s contributions Description of contributions
Year 1 $8,000 $8,000 $10,000 wedding gift divided between the two FHSAs, plus Amina and Sanjay’s $3,000 contribution each
Year 2 $8,000 $8,000 Maximum yearly contribution
Year 3 $4,000 $8,000 Amina under contributed by $4,000 
Year 4 $12,000 $8,000 Amina’s Year 3 $4,000 unused participation room
+ Year 4 $8,000 contribution room
= $12,000 maximum participation room 
Year 5 $8,000 $8,000 Maximum yearly contribution
Total FHSA contributions at the end of Year 5 $40,000 $40,000 Each FHSA reached the maximum lifetime amount


Amina and Sanjay made the purchase of a first qualifying home3 a reality by each using an FHSA as their five year plan to save a combined $80,000. During this time frame they may also benefit from tax-free investment growth, which could increase the market value of their FHSA at withdrawal.


Why hold an Empire Life segregated fund contract in your FHSA?

Empire Life segregated fund contracts offer flexibility and choice in investment options with up to 100% equity, enabling you to participate in the growth potential of equity markets. Segregated fund contracts offer valuable benefits some other investments cannot, such as maturity and death benefit guarantees, the ability to bypass the estate and probate process if a beneficiary is named, and potential creditor protection. 

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To find out if an Empire Life First Home Savings Account is right for you, speak with your advisor or visit 


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1 Maximum participation period begins when you open your first FHSA and ends on December 31 of the year in which the earliest of the following events occur: the 15th anniversary of opening your first FHSA, you turn 71 years of age, or the year following your first qualifying withdrawal from your FHSA.

2 Generally, this is 1% per month on the highest excess amount in that month, for each month the FHSA holds an overcontribution amount.

3 For further information concerning FHSAs, please go to and search for “First Home Savings Account”

Segregated Fund contracts are issued by The Empire Life Insurance Company (“Empire Life”).

A description of the key features of the individual variable insurance contract is contained in the Information Folder for the product being considered. Any amount that is allocated to a Segregated Fund is invested at the risk of the contract owner and may increase or decrease in value. Please read the information folder, contract and fund facts before investing. Performance histories are not indicative of future performance.

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June 2024