How to get income once you retire

As you get closer to retirement, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your options for converting your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to a retirement income. One of the most popular and flexible options is through the use of a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF). The selection of a retirement income option will need to be made by the end of the year in which you turn 71, and you must begin withdrawing funds the following year. The sooner you start thinking about your RRIF, the more time you’ll have to find the best option for you.

What is an RRIF?

A, RRIF is a registered investment account that’s used to provide for income rather than savings. In other words, you don’t make contributions to your RRIF. Instead, you take the money that you’ve saved in your RRSP and put it into your RRIF to fund your retirement.

Much as with an RRSP, your earnings on investments inside your RRIF are tax-sheltered until they are withdrawn. By converting your RRSP to a RRIF, you avoid cashing in your RRSP for a lump-sum payment, which may result in a significant tax hit when you retire.

Making withdrawals

You have until December 31 of the year when you turn 71 to convert your RRSP to a RRIF, and you are required to start taking withdrawals the following year. Once you have converted your RRSP to a RRIF, you may withdraw any amount as long as you meet the annual minimum withdrawal. Your minimum payment is based on when the RRIF was set-up, your or your spouse’s age and the amount currently held within the RRIF.

Depending on your personal and financial situation, it may make sense for you to convert to a RRIF sooner. Regardless of when you start withdrawals, keep in mind that the income you receive from your RRIF will affect the amount of taxes you pay and how much you are entitled to receive in government benefits.

Talk to your advisor to develop the right RRIF conversion and withdrawal strategy for you.

For more detailed information, read the brochure:  

Registered Retirement Income Fund Brochure