Get the retirement income you need and let your investments continue to grow on a tax-deferred basis with a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF). After all, you’re retiring – your money isn’t.
A RRIF is like an extension of your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) — but instead of putting money in, you withdraw from it for retirement income. The best part? Your investments can continue to grow tax-deferred.
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At RBC Direct Investing you’ll find several account options for turning your retirement savings into retirement income:
The minimum amount you need to withdraw changes every year; it is based on your age and the market value of your RRIF at year end of the previous year. All withdrawals are taxable. If you have more than one RRIF, each plan will have its own minimum withdrawal.
You can always take more than the minimum; just keep in mind that it is taxable. Talk to your tax advisor about what’s best for you.
To leave your RRIF to a spouse (including common law partner) if you die first, you can either name them as beneficiary or as a successor annuitant (not available in Quebec). Either way, the RRIF will go to your spouse, without incurring any probate. Successor annuitant is the simpler option and is generally processed quicker – your spouse basically becomes the annuitant of your RRIF. Subsequent withdrawals from the RRIF will be taxed to your spouse. If your spouse is named as a beneficiary, your executor will have some flexibility in allocating income tax between your spouse and your estate.
If you do not have a spouse or if you want to name someone other than your spouse, you can specify the beneficiary (or beneficiaries, you can have more than one!). In this case, the proceeds of your RRIF are withdrawn and paid to the beneficiaries. In provinces with probate fees, naming a beneficiary can reduce those fees.
Estate planning can be complex. If you have financial dependents, (such minor children or disabled adult child/grandchild) speak to an estate planning specialist for more information on naming a successor annuitant or beneficiary on your RRIF.
A life income fund (LIF) is a special RRIF which contains terms prescribed by pension standards legislation. The funds in a LIF are “locked-in.” A LIF can be funded with money transferred from a registered pension plan (RPP). It can also be funded from money that was transferred from an RPP to a locked in retirement account (LIRA). (A LIRA is a special RRSP which contains terms prescribed by pension standards legislation. The funds in a LIRA are also locked-in. For members of RPPs whose employment rights are governed federally instead of provincially, a LIRA is called a locked-in registered retirement savings plan.)
Like an RRSP, a LIRA terminates at the end of the year you turn 71. Before then, a LIRA must be converted to a LIF or used to buy an annuity. Like a RRIF, a LIF has a minimum amount that must be withdrawn each year. However, unlike a RRIF, a LIF has a cap on how much can be withdrawn in a year. This cap is part of the LIF’s “locking-in” mechanism. LIRAs and LIFs are “locked-in” since they contain money that came from an RPP, and an RPP is intended to pay a pension for life. The LIF’s cap on withdrawals ensures that the LIF will last and not be depleted.
For members of RPPs whose employment rights are governed federally instead of provincially, LIFs and restricted life income funds (RLIFs) are available. An RLIF is also a special RRIF whose funds are “locked-in”, and which imposes a cap on how much can be withdrawn in a year. The main difference between a LIF and an RLIF is that, within 60 days of establishing an RLIF, up to 50% of the RLIF funds can be unlocked and transferred to an RRSP or RRIF.
In Saskatchewan, LIFs are no longer available. Instead, money from a LIRA can be transferred to a prescribed RRIF (PRIF). Like a RRIF and a LIF, a PRIF has a minimum amount that must be withdrawn each year. However, its funds are not locked-in.
In Newfoundland, LIFs and locked-in retirement income funds (LRIFs) are available. An LRIF is also a special RRIF whose funds are “locked-in”, and which imposes a cap on how much can be withdrawn in a year.
In several Canadian jurisdictions, you must have reached a certain age before you can convert a LIRA. You can open a self-directed LIF (RLIF, PRIF or (LRIF) with RBC Direct Investing once you have reached that age.
Before you take money out of your RRIF, find out how much to withdraw, when to do it and how to make the most of it.
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