RRIF: The Complete Online Guide for RRIFs

When people retire, the money that people have in their RRSPs typically finds a new home.  That home is called a Registered Retirement Income Fund or RRIF for short.  When Canadians need to set up a regular income stream from their RRSPs, they have the option to use a Registered Retirement Income Fund or a Life Annuity.  RRIFs are by far the more popular option these days.  Here’s a list of great articles to help you make important RRIF decisions:

RRIF Basics

Understanding the basic RRIF rules
This article is a great starting point to learn about RRIFs and the basic rules of how they work.  If there is only one article you read, this is it.  This articles has been one of my most popular articles on the site.

RRIF minimum income rules
A RIF is designed to create a regular stream of income for retired Canadians.  The government has imposed some rules around how much money can be taken out each year.  They call this the minimum income

Should RRIF minimums be changed?
Some people think the RRIF minimum rules are old and needs some updating to make the rules more current and relevant to the times.  What do you think?

Converting your RRSPs to income
Before you convert your RRSPs to income, it is important to take a look at the amount of money you will receive from different options including the RIF.  How can you make a decision without having some numbers?

RRIFs vs Annuities
When you retire, you can convert your RRSPs into income using a RIF or a Life Annuity.  This article will highlight some of the basic differences.

RRIFs and estate Planning

Designating Beneficiaries for RRSPs and RRIFs
One area of tax planning that does not receive enough attention is the designation of beneficiaries when it comes to RRSPs andRRIFs. Make sure you understand the tax implications of different beneficiary designations.

RRSP and RRIF tax traps
When you die, RRSPs and RIFs become fully taxable to the estate.  Many people designate beneficiaries on the RRSPs and RRIFs at the time of application and more often than not, they do not put the estate as the beneficiary.  This can potentially create a tax trap.

What happens to your RRSPs and RRIFs when you die?
Although it’s not something we like to think about it is an important issue with RRSPs, especially when it comes to tax. On death, the tax consequences really depend on who is listed as the beneficiary of the RRSP.

Taxation of RRIFs

Using RRIFs to take advantage of the Pension Income Tax Credit
Do you want to learn how to get some of your pension income tax free?  All you have to do is learn about the $2000 pension income tax credit.

Income splitting strategies in retirement
In 2007, the government introduced Pension Splitting rules.  Once you turn 65, you can also used the Registered Retirement Income Funds to take advantage of the pension splitting rules.  This one is really worth checking out because it can save couples a lot of money.

RRIF meltdown strategy
One popular question I get is how to get the money out of registered funds without paying tax.  Because it involves leverage and borrowing money, I do not often recommend this strategy.  It’s still worth reading about how to do it.

Investing your RRIF

The difference between an account and an investment
A RIF is an account just like the RRSP is an account. I often call these buckets of money. It’s important to understand the different between these buckets and the investments inside the buckets.

You don’t want too much risk in a RRIF
When you convert your RRSPs to a RRIF it is critically important that you review the investments and make the portfolio much more conservative.  The math of withdrawals to create a retirement income stream can work against you when there is too much volatility.

RRIFs can be a retirees best friend if used properly.  I hope this guide has helped you create retirement income.

Written by Jim Yih

Jim Yih is a Fee Only Advisor, Best Selling Author, and Financial Speaker on wealth, retirement and personal finance. Currently, Jim specializes in putting Financial Education programs into the workplace. For more information you can follow him on Twitter @JimYih or visit his other websites JimYih.com and Clearpoint Benefit Solutions.

2 Responses to RRIF: The Complete Online Guide for RRIFs

  1. I think RIF minimum rules have to reviewed. In my opinion theannuitant should have the option to take any amount or not withdraw at all.

  2. I am reading this RRIF Guide with great interest, but the section on beneficiary designations does not mention Quebec, where, so I have repeatedly been told, a beneficiary cannot be designated. But is there no asset, account or purpose for which a beneficiary designation may be made in Quebec? For example, is there no way to avoid the taxation and disposition of RRIF investments before distribution to the surviving spouse?

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