RRIF guide: Everything you need to know about the Registered Retirement Income Fund

RRIF guide: Everything you need to know about the Registered Retirement Income Fund

When it comes time to convert RRSPs to income, most Canadians choose a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) as their retirement income option.

You must convert RRSPs to income by age 71

Even if you do not need periodic income or any income at all, you must convert the RRSP into income in the year you turn age 71.

An RRIF is a comfortable transition because of its similarity to an RRSP. An RRIF provides a high level of control over the investments in your retirement plan, the advantage of tax-free growth of assets within the plan, as well as maximum flexibility in establishing an income stream. RRIFs come in a number of shapes and sizes.

Related article: Shop around before choosing an RRIF

The first decision is income

The first thing you will need to determine is how much income you need or want. This decision will have the greatest impact on the longevity of your money. If you spend too much too fast, you will run out of money. Even if you don’t need or want the extra income, you have the minimum income rules to contend with.

Related article: How much income do you need in retirement?

You can tailor your income to your needs, subject to minimums imposed by the federal government. If you need steady monthly, quarterly, or annual income, it’s available. If you require a large lump sum for a major purchase, travel, or some other purpose, that’s available too.

RRIF withdrawal rules

Converting to an RRIF will subject you to the minimum income rules but you do not have to start income until the year you turn 72. Technically, at 71, your minimum income is $0 because there was no value to the RRIF at the end of the previous calendar year.

The table below outlines the minimum withdrawals on RRIFs established after 1992, as set by the government. Before age 71, the minimum percentage of payout is worked out in the following way: 1÷(90 – your current age). RRIF minimums were once again changed in 2015

Related article: Minimum income rules for RRIFs

So if you’re 65, your minimum withdrawal would be 1÷(90-65)=4%. With a $100,000 RRIF, that amounts to $4,000. Once you reach age 71, the following schedule applies:

Age 2015 and later 1992 to 2015 Pre 1992
65 4.00% 4.00% 4.00%
66 4.17% 4.17% 4.17%
67 4.35% 4.35% 4.35%
68 4.55% 4.55% 4.55%
69 4.76% 4.76% 4.76%
70 5.00% 5.00% 5.00%
71 5.28% 7.38% 5.26%
72 5.40% 7.48% 5.56%
73 5.53% 7.59% 5.88%
74 5.67% 7.71% 6.25%
75 5.82% 7.85% 6.67%
76 5.98% 7.99% 7.14%
77 6.17% 8.15% 7.69%
78 6.36% 8.33% 8.33%
79 6.58% 8.53% 8.53%
80 6.82% 8.75% 8.75%
81 7.08% 8.99% 8.99%
82 7.38% 9.27% 9.27%
83 7.71% 9.58% 9.58%
84 8.08% 9.93% 9.93%
85 8.51% 10.33% 10.33%
86 8.99% 10.79% 10.79%
87 9.55% 11.33% 11.33%
88 10.21% 11.96% 11.96%
89 10.99% 12.71% 12.71%
90 11.92% 13.62% 13.62%
91 13.06% 14.73% 14.73%
92 14.49% 16.12% 16.12%
93 16.34% 17.92% 17.92%
94 18.79% 20.00% 20.00%
95+ 20.00% 20.00% 20.00%

For maximum tax deferral, you want to take out as little as possible from your RRIF for as long as possible. One of the ways to stretch the income is to base the minimum income on a younger spouse’s age. This will allow you to withdraw less out of the RRIF if you do not want the income nor want to pay income tax on the income.

The second decision is what to invest in

Financial institutions offer plans that can hold Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), mutual funds, cash, or other financial instruments. Alternatively, you can establish a self-directed RRIF to include a combination of individual securities in your plans, such as stocks, bonds or Treasury bills (in addition to the investments mentioned above).

Related article: Advantages of a Self-Directed RRSP

RRIFs offer investment flexibility. You can hold the same investments that are eligible for an RRSP. Shares of Canadian corporations, corporate and government bonds, Canada Savings Bonds, Treasury bills, mortgages, GICs, term deposits, covered call options, warrants, rights, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and mutual funds that invest in eligible securities are all qualifying investments. Just like an RRSP, an RRIF lets you retain control over your investments, rather than handing over your money to a third party.

The longevity of your RRIF is simply based on how much money you make in investment return and how much you take out for income. It does not take a lot of mathematical know-how to figure out that if you earn more money than you withdraw in income, the RRIF will grow.

Related article: Retirees should be more conservative with their investments

For example, if you invest in a GIC RRIF at 3% and you take out the minimum (5.28%) at age 71, your RRIF should drop in value after the income is paid. In years where your returns are higher than your income, the RRIF will grow in value.

What will happen to your RRIF when you die?

You can leave your remaining RRIF assets to your heirs upon your death by designating the proper beneficiary.

Under the current rules, if you name your spouse as the beneficiary of the RRIF, the plan can be transferred to the spouse without triggering the tax. If the surviving spouse is over the age of 71, the RRIF must be transferred to an RRIF. If the surviving spouse is less than 71, the RRIF can be converted back to an RRSP, or RRIF. At the time of application, you can also designate the beneficiary as a successor annuitant, which means the payments will simply continue onto the surviving spouse without liquidation of assets. Other than some provisions made for dependent children and beneficiaries under the age of 18, any beneficiary other than the spouse will cause the entire value of the RRIF to come into income to the estate.

Related article: Designating a proper beneficiary for RRSPs and RRIFs

RRIFs are flexible

The biggest advantage of the RRIF is tremendous flexibility. You have the flexibility to choose your investments, how much income you want and how frequent that income is paid to you. You also have the flexibility to make changes should your circumstances change. The RRIF is a wonderful planning tool because the flexibility allows you to customize to your specific needs and circumstances.

When it comes to setting income, here are a few common types of RRIFs.

  • Minimum income RRIF – This RRIF provides the minimum level of income. Typically, people who choose the minimum income RRIF are those who do not need the money and want to defer taxable income for as long as possible. Remember, if this is the case, you can base the RRIF on the age of your younger spouse. Furthermore, remember the RRIF minimum income is based on the value of the RRIF on December 31 of the previous year. Sometimes this can make income planning difficult because you really don’t know what your income will be until the last minute.
  • Capital preservation RRIF – Preserving capital and paying out a fixed level of income are the goals of this RRIF type. In this case, you will withdraw your investment returns each year (subject to minimums). If you are using mutual funds, you might elect a reasonable target return like 4% to 6%, for example, with the hopes and intentions of earning 4 to 6% to maintain the capital.
  • Level income RRIF – If you want to provide income for a specific period of time such as to age 90, this RRIF would be the right choice. In this instance, you would determine the amount of income you could derive so that the entire asset would be depleted by the time you reach 90 years of age. You can use the age or time frame.

Have as many RRIFs as you want

You can have as many RRIFs as you want. You can have one that pays a level of income for the next 5 years to bridge income until government benefits. You can have another that is a capital preservation RRIF for a more stable long term level of income.

Generally, many people consider consolidating into one RRIF. With a single RRIF, you can easily manage your investments and you’ll only have to worry about one minimum withdrawal. Several RRIFs require more time and energy, and you’ll have to arrange to withdraw at least the minimum from each one.

You cannot contribute to an RRIF

If you have an RRIF and you want to make an RRSP contribution, you cannot contribute directly to the RRIF. Instead, you must contribute to the RRSP, prior to age 71 and then convert the RRSP to the RRIF. You cannot have an RRSP after the age of 71. If you have a younger spouse, you can contribute to a spousal RRSP even if you are over the age of 71 but your spouse must be 71 or younger.

Watch the attribution rules

If the RRIF is being set up with spousal RRSP money, you must be aware of the attribution rules. If any contribution has been made to any spousal RRSP with any institution in the year of income or the two preceding years, there will be attribution of income to the original contributor. This attribution only applies to amounts in excess of the minimum income. If you need income but want to avoid attribution, you can withdraw just the minimum.

Withholding tax details

RRIF income is subject to government withholding tax rates. Just like your employer withholds taxes and remits them directly to the government, your RRIF administrator is required to do the same. Minimum income RRIFs are not subject to withholding tax, but you can request any level of withholding tax desired. In all other circumstances, there is a 10% withholding rate on withdrawals less than $5000, 20% on withdrawals between $5001 and $15,000 and 30% tax on withdrawals over $15,000.

Related article: Understanding withholding tax on your RRSP and RRIF withdrawals

As you can see, there are a lot of issues to deal with when it comes to planning your RRIF income. Take the time to plan wisely.

RRIF income qualifies for the pension income credit and pension splitting

If you are over the age of 65 and you do not have a company pension plan, any withdrawals from your RRIF or Annuity are considered pension income for tax purposes. Specifically, this gives you access to two common tax strategies in the Pension Income Tax Credit and Pension Income Splitting.

There is no shortage of information here. As you can see, it’s so important to plan ahead when you are thinking about converting your RRSPs into an RRIF. Good luck!


  1. A.N Rajah

    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.

    • Dave R

      Indeed, but if you die with a large RIF its all income in the year of death…so lets say 300k in the year of death…but maybe 20k the year before that….so tax on the 300k would be at about 50% vs…..take it out at 20k a year and pay only 20% on those withdrawals…so if done systematically over several years of retirement, even if you don’t need the cash flow you’d pay a lot less tax

  2. Ken Main

    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?

    • Jim Corsbie

      Question: You and other advisors talk about taking out the min each year to defer taxes. What about taking out the max to keep my yearly income just inside the 22% tax range.Then reinvesting what is not needed. Won’t this keep my heirs from paying at the maximum rate.
      Why defer tax if the deferal results in a higher tax rate???

      • David Russell

        The minimum … and age 71 are just the “basics”…..the rsp and rif are tools. So you are bang on. I use the RSP to defer taxes from a high tax year to a low tax year….maybe that’s when I’m 55 or 45…Also, once in retirement, I want to get all of the assets out of my rsp or rif to the extent that I can, in a low tax bracket, regardless of the minimum of that I’m not 71 yet….first off, the first $2000 could be tax free if you have no other private pension…you’d miss 6 years of that if you wait to age 71. further, if your only other income is CPP and OAS, then you can draw RIF money at a low tax bracket and put it into the TFSA….or even unregistered. If it now earns $1000 of dividends, youd still pay less tax than if it earned those same dividends inside the RIF…AND…you never have to take them out of the TFSA or sell the investment account.b

  3. A English

    If I have a personal RRSP and a spousal RRSP, can I collapse them into the same RIF or do I need two separate RIFs?

    • Jim Yih

      Thanks for the comment.
      You can combine the two but if you do, all the money is considered spousal money. As a result there can be a risk that the income is attributed back to your spouse who made the contribution.

      More often than not, I suggest keeping the pots separate.
      I hope that helps!

      • Spencer

        Yes Jim ,I used to read your articles and all are very informative.
        The attribution rule applies if spouse made any contributions in the current or previous 2 years .
        Also this will have impact if annuitant takes more than the annual minimum payment. Thanks

    • Robert Lawson

      Hi Jim, if some of the funds inside the RRIF are in gif’s and we pass away, are those funds considered income. I.e. would those be taxed as well?

  4. sadiq

    this iink was supposed to be an article on Canada Pension- How much you can get from It

    • D Russell

      depends…how long and how much did you pay into it and how old are you when claiming it

  5. Bob Johnson

    When receiving funds from a R.I.F. by inheritance What if any taxes are there, and who has to deal with them, or do they have to be in the estate.The RIF was not in the will, and was paid out from the bank before any probate etc.

    • Matt Mawer

      Sorry for your loss.
      All Registered money (RRIF included) is treated as taxable income to the deceased (assuming there is no surviving spouse). All registered money has a beneficiary attached to it so there shouldn’t be any probate unless the beneficiary was listed as the estate. The executor will have to deal with the tax portion at tax time the following year.

  6. Harold Flake

    Interesting items to consider. I was looking for the answer to the question, ” Are RIFFs required to be paid out in full by age 90?” . I have heard conflicting information. We are in a situation where a family member was receiving RIFF payments and passed away at age 88. There is a a small amount remaining to be mover to the spouse. However, the spouse is presently 93. One source says the entire amount must be paid out in lump sum because of the age 90 restriction. Another source says the payments can simply continue. Which is correct?

  7. Michaelw

    Hi Jim

    I must convert my RSPs to a Riff by December 31st of this year. How much lead time do I need – in other words how long does the Riff take to set up? I also plan to use about one third of my RSP to fund a non arms length mortgage rather than buying my retirement home on Vancouver Island with a conventional mortgage. What are the pros and what are the cons to taking out a non arms length mortgage? The con I think is if the housing bubble deflates and Real Estate prices “correct” – but the advantage is that I will be able to save a lot of the the interest and pay myself back rather than handing over the profits to another lender.

    • Tom Durkin

      I held our mortgage inside my rrsp for years. One could only abide by current rates and not charge percentages that where completely outside rates that where too low or too high but would reflect current market . At that time our mortgage rate was 9percent. Which was paid to my Rrsp and was reinvested in whatever, stocks etc. The cash or equities would grow tax free as the mortgage was paid over time. Obviously, one had to have enough funds to provide for the mortgage in theRRSP in the first place. There were also some fees required to set up the plan, but it worked out well for us. I certainly liked the idea of paying oneself and the this would accumulate tax free inside a self directed RRS

    • jay toews

      Can one use a riff to build a house and put the money back later when I sell my first home.

      • D Russell

        nope…unless you cash it out and pay the tax, but you cant put it back

  8. FlorenceS

    Thank you for your articles on Retiring. They are so helpful.
    Just recently I have heard on a TV program about another option for transferring RRSP money out–instead of moving to RRIF, one can move it to “ACP”. This type of “account(?)” will decrease the tax amount to be paid. Can you tell me what ACP is? How it works? Is it only for province of British Columbia? Nobody seems to know what it is. I only caught the tail end of the program.
    Please can you help?

  9. Jerry Boyarchuk

    Can proceeds from a RRIF be split with your spouse when filling your income Tax?

    • Richard M

      Can a withdrawal of $4000 be made from a RRIF in the same year the RRIF is opened and can this $4000 withdrawal be spilt with spouse to take advantage of the federal tax credit with each spouse claiming $2000. We are 71 and 65 and the RRIF was opened in 2015

    • Vic


  10. Jerry Pauze

    What amount is guaranteed by the government of funds in a RRIF ??
    If I invest $500,000.00 with one investment company, is it guaranteed should the investment company become insolvent??

    • Jim Yih

      Hey Jerry, it depends on what you invest in and which financial institution:

      Mutual Funds are not insured at all because you own the underlying assets in the fund.

      Generally, only deposit products like GICs are insured. (CDIC and Assuris)

      Some Life Insurance Seg products are insured through Assuris.

  11. LTC Plans

    Thanks for the info. Just a question about Canada Retirement Savings Plan and Canada Retirement Income Fund. What are the differences between the two? Any idea? I only know they’re related to the Canada saving bond and that they receive compound interest.

  12. Michaelw

    Jim Could you please res[pnd to my question on this notice board.

    • Rick

      Good question. Look forward to the response…

  13. Larry

    I have questions about investing a RRIF in a GIC. Does a 5-year term GIC allow me to withdraw money on a monthly basis? Does the accrued interest shrink as the principal drops?

  14. June

    I have my RIFF’s invested with Woodgundy. The funds that are invested have done very poorly. My advisor keeps saying to leave them where they are, but I have NOT had any gains whatsover, (slight losses) in over 5 yrs. Any suggestions?

    • Tony Leo

      My personal advice to y is to invest in a fund that holds Microsoft, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Coke-Cola, Easson Oil, Google.,,,,,,etc. Bank stocks and utility companies are also my first choice. I don’t have time to check out Woodgundy. I would do my own research and not let anyone to make stupid decision on my behalf because they don’t have a vested interested in your finance affair.

  15. A English

    In a self directed RRIF that contains non liquid assets such as stocks, I assume I would need to ensure there is enough cash in the account to cover my designated withdrawal amount? What happens if there isn’t? Would the financial institution notify me to liquidate some more assets?

    • S. Cote

      I kept getting a minus amount in the cash balance of my RIF statement and eventually I got a notice telling me to sell some stock share to get into a positive cash balance. I did this as well as lowering my RIF so I stay in a cash balance now without having to sell more shares.

    • Harv

      Message to A ENGLISH –
      I handle mine this way – I sell whatever stocks that I hold to satisfy the government withdrawal requirements near the end of the calendar year. The cash from the sale remains in my investor’s account until my Investor’s Edge (CIBC), transfers the required government amount into my bank account. This usually happens around the middle of January. If I do not sell these stocks myself, A Broker from Investor’s Edge will contact me to determine what stocks I would prefer to dispose of and sell them to fulfill the requirement.

  16. brian makara

    i’m 55 and i have a riff which came from my lif can i withdraw a monthly sum next month

    • brian makara

      please send my answer

  17. gloria

    Is there a regulation that indicates the time frame when a bank should be able to transfer RRIF to another bank if requested by the RRIF holder? I have been trying to transfer mine since October 2013 but up to now the bank has not done so. They keep on giving me a lot of excuses for not doing so, and I am at a point when I am thinking of further action against them. Your opinion will be much appreciated.

  18. Dianne K

    Hi Jim; I will be turning 65 this year 2014, & have read there are tax credits that kick in to the tune of approx $6700+ for incomes of under $33K, which I fall into. All of my income if from pensions. Would it be prudent to move all of my RRSPs into a RIFF now, & withdraw the $6700.00 out of the RIFF each year & put it into a TFSA as I have room, thus reducing the tax hit at 71 & beyond.This seems so simple, am I assuming something erroneously?
    Thanks for your take on this Jim.

  19. cecil drysdale

    how can I withdraw all of my rif at once. can it be changed to an annuity? then withdrawn.

  20. pat todd

    if i want to cash in 5000.00 how much it cost me on my rif. Do i pay know or at the end of year. PAT

  21. Trapper

    my wife and I are both retired and are in our early 50s, we have 200.000 in RRSP now, Should we start withdrawing from the RRSP at age 60 ( can we do this monthly)or should we wait until 70 and turn it into a RRIF and than start monthly withdraw

    • Tony Leo

      Helo Trapper, I live in Toronto. My personal advice to you is to take it out sooner in smaller amount, in order to avoid paying too much tax. If you wait too long, you will have to take it out in larger amount and face higher taxes. In my case if I used up all my RRSP/RRIF in just 10 yrs. I have to pay withholding tax $53,000. However, if I used it up in 15 yrs. I only pay withholding tax $30,000 plus, and in addition I accumulate more interest in my RRSP/RRIF in the amount $30,000 if I leave it longer in my plan.

  22. abu jaffer

    I have a RRIF, which I opened this year. In 2015, 3 of my RRSPs are maturing, is it TRUE that I can add the maturing RRSPs to the existing RRIF. The maturing RRSPs are NOT new RRSP contributions. Thanks.

    • Jim Yih

      Yes, you can continue to transfer money into a RRIF that already exists

  23. Ramona

    I have 8 small RRSP – GIC in the bank and I will be 71 this year, will they go into RRIF or just stay as GIC.

  24. Terry Coster

    Hello Jim,

    Next year I turn 71 and I know I have to convert my current RRSP into a RIF, and that has to be done by December 31st of the year.

    So suppose I do set up the RIF in December of that year. My question is, do I have to make that minimum withdrawal in that same year, ( 2016), or can I wait until January of the next year to actually make a withdrawal?

  25. Laurie

    Once my Riff is set up with a financial institution,can I move it, in whole or in part, to set up another riff with another financial institution? Laurie

    • Wanda palmer

      I removed $2000 from my RIF in January. The bank took another $2000 in March. Causing $400 income tax payment. The bank is saying it’s an automatic $2000 that I should have known. This has happened twice. I asked to stop the automatic removal in March, but told they can’t change it.

  26. Linda

    One last question about the RRIF. Number 10 above states that if you are over the age of 65 and do not have a company pension plan you may be able to withdraw $2000 per year of income from RRIF tax free. I do not have a company pension plan per say….I do have CPP. Are these two different things and wondering if I qualify for $2000 withdrawl tax free?

  27. Ference

    Hello Jim,

    I have the same question as Terry Coster.


  28. C Cronin

    As of May 2015, this article contains a mix of old and new information, including the misstatement that the RRIF withdrawal rate at age 72 is 7.48%, and rates of return that are completely unrealistic in today’s market (6% GICs, 8% ROE). This could confuse naive readers and warrants another edit.

  29. Donna

    Does withdrawing from a LIF also qualify for the $2,000 tax free if same conditions met as for the RRIF?

  30. S Joseph

    I have a quick question. When I invest in a RIFF can I get paid monthly? Are there banks/companies that would send me a monthly cheque proving I get a monthly pension? The reason I am asking is for proving I get a monthly pension payment to apply for a Visa that requires proof that I get a pension paid monthly.

  31. Gary

    I’m looking to Move a RIF into a mortgage – essentially to give the funds to a family member. Can my son then pay off the mortage and as he does that the funds come back to me?

    If I can do this I have found very little info about how to do it or who can do it. I want to set up the mortgage quickly any suggestions where I should start looking in Ontario?

  32. Bob Orchard

    If you have non cashable GICs in your RRSP at the time you need to convert to a RIF how will this work? Normally you will not be able to cash them or lose the interest if you do? Do they just move over to the RIF as they were?

    • Maru

      This is a good question. If you have your RRIF in a self directed plan with your bank or online trading, you must liquidate adequate funds to ensure available cash to meet your income requirements. The same rule applies to any funds or equities. If you are with a pension administrator, this is not always necessary.

  33. pmcd

    If I move all the money in my RRSP to a RIF at once, will that count as income ( withdrawing from the RRSP) and will there consequently be a withholding tax? I am in Ontario and aged 66.

    • C Cronin

      I’m not a finance professional, but I know that, so long as you are converting an RRSP to a RRIF, you are not considered to be withdrawing the money, and you are not taxed. (I have done it). Of course, when you withdraw money from the RRIF you will pay tax on it.

      You don’t have to convert the whole RRSP to a RRIF. You can convert part of it if you wish.

      Did you know that if you are 65 or older, you can claim $2000 of this withdrawal as a pension tax credit?

  34. ben

    I notice that many folk here are asking questions expecting Jim to quickly answer however, he is not a missionary organization, he has a family, and if you really need a detailed answer you can always pay him for his professional advice…just saying

  35. K. McClain

    At some point in 2017 I must convert my RRSPs to RRIFs. The question is, can I amalgamate several RRSPs into one RRIF or must I open a RRIF for each RRSP? Thank you.

  36. Keith McClain

    Hey Ben, no where in my question did I indicate that I needed an immediate reply. Just saying.

  37. J. Cann

    Hi Jim,

    My mother withdrew funds from her RRIF over a period of several months each time in amounts less that $5000 and the bank appropriately withheld the 10% tax. In total she withdrew $35,000. I just took a look at the expected tax implications and she will get hammered pretty hard as her higher annual income will result in moving her to a higher tax bracket.

    With a couple of weeks left in the year is there something that I can do to help mitigate the tax due? She is in position to repay the fund, but that does not appear to be an option as only funds from a registered plan can be used to establish a RRIF.

    Any thought on options would be appreciated.


  38. Christine

    Can you have an RRIF and an RRSP at the same time? For example can I take 1/2 of mt RRSP and convert that to a RIF and keep the other half as an RRSP?

  39. stephen

    Hello Jim,

    If a RRIF is initially established based on the age of the younger spouse, can the RRIF be changed to being based on the the age of the surviving spouse in the event of death of the younger spouse?

    I look forward to your comments.


    • r miro

      the answer is no, and it’s not relevant, in that from a rrif you can deduct any amount at any time. only the minimum withdrawal is subject to regulation. anything above the minimum is up to you


    Hey there!

    I have a question for you. If you are in an investment that is a 10 year hold, meaning after 10 years your investment matures, how would this affect your RRSP to RIF? So if you were 63 and purchased a 10 year fund, how would you be able to convert this position if you have to RIF at 71 but the fund doesnt mature until your 73? Any advice or help?

  41. richard

    at the end of year you turn 71,your investment which matures when you are 73, gets transferred to your rrif and the investment will mature in your rrif when you are 73

  42. Louise Pigeau

    My husband is 66 and I am 65. My accountant told me and my husband to transfer some money from our RRSP to a RRIF, then to withdraw $2,000 each from our RRIF in order to take advantage of the pension income credit for 2017. My husband does not have a company pension plan; however, I will start collecting my company pension on July 1, 2018. It states on your site that RRIFs qualify for the $2,000 pension income credit if you are over the age of 65 and you do not have a company pension plan. Since I will be collecting my company pension on July 1, 2018, will I be able to take advance of the $2,000 pension income credit in 2018? I was told that I do, however, your site says different. Please clarify this for me. Thank you so much.

  43. Nanna Websdale

    Dear Jim Yih: I’m looking at the chart for % values needed to withdraw at the age of 71. I did not know there were two other columns for pre and post……2015 and 1972, etc.
    Did the federal government of Canada make a change or was this always the way of making
    minimum withdrawals.

  44. Wanda palmer

    I have taken out $2000 from my RIFF for the last 2 years in January. The bank has taken another $2000 in the last 2 years in March without me knowing. Seeing it this year I asked why the bank is taking $2000 in March? They said it was automatic it’s the way they do it. This has cost me $400 in income tax. Are they allowed to do this without my permission?

  45. Andrew

    I have a simple question regarding investing RRSP in to lock in product for 3 years. If I invest my entire RRSP portfolio this year in lock in investment and at the end of 3 year period I must covert to RRIF is this is allowed? I will have 6 months after maturity of my investment to take mandatory percentage of my RRIF.
    How this would work in my case???
    Are this allowed ???



  47. Roger McGraw

    My Father in Law turned 87 this August and has been receiving monthly RRIF payments. What month and year will these payments stop

    Much appreciated

    PS I am already a subscriber and enjoy your owrk

  48. Doreen Horlick

    What are the pros and cons of a flexible or non flexible RRIF.

  49. James

    I enjoy this website. However, one thing that annoys me is that there are no dates posted along to their respective articles to see how current it is.

    This article is outdated. You would not know that unless you knew that now (2018), 71, and not 69, is the age when you need to convert your RRSP to a RRIF. Very misleading to others who doesn’t know any better to follow this article as current!

  50. Henry

    What if I retire at 58? how does this affect me?

  51. Togar

    If i have RRSP accounts in a number of different institutions at age 71, can I have one RRIF that includes all these assets without consolidating them into one institution? And if so, then I assume I could pick and choose where the RRIF withdrawal comes from, maybe from only one institution, as long as I meet the minimum withdrawal requirment?

    • richardm

      Togar, If you want only one RRIF you must consolidate into one financial institution. Each institution where you hold a RRIF must send you the minimum withdrawal required for the value of the RRIF balance they hold. Unless you consolidate, you will get 4 RRIF payments each year. You cannot pick & choose. You don’t chose the minimum RRIF withdrawal, each financial institution does. Hope this helps

  52. Bob Orchard

    How are GICs handled in an RRIF for withdrawals. As a simple example if I had a $100,000 GIC at 3.5% and my minimum withdrawal was $5,000. Normally you cannot withdraw from GICs until the end of the term. Do the financial institutions just remove the $5000 from the GIC and the rest stays in the GIC at the 3.5%? Can I just say take the minimum % from each GIC I have in the RRIF?

  53. Bill R

    RIFF removal rate: An older spouse can choose to have removal at the lower rate of the younger spouse. Can the reverse happen i.e. can the younger spouse have a minimum removal at the higher rate of the older spouse?

    • richardm Miron

      either spouse can remove from a RRIF, any amount they want at any time, so the answer is YES

  54. Imelda

    Hi I’m 66 and retired! I have RRSPs aprox 300,000 and 401ks in the US over 200,000 .How much can I withdraw monthly to avoid being hammered at the end of the year with tax owing.

  55. Tom

    If you are less than 71 and you need periodic income (once in a while) over regular income (monthly), you might have more flexibility leaving the money in an RRSP and just making a withdrawal from time to time.
    Please explain “flexibility” opportunity.
    If you are over the age of 65 and you do not have a company pension plan, you may be able to withdraw $2000 per year of income from the RRIF tax-free.
    I will have a company pension but very small, how does this affect the $2000 tax-free withdrawal.

  56. Elena Arnautu

    If you are over the age of 65 and do not have a company pension plan you may be able to withdraw $2000 per year of income from RRIF tax free. I do not have a company pension plan. I do have CPP. Are these two different things and wondering if I qualify for $2000 withdrawl tax free?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Elena – Yes they are different things and No you can’t claim $2,000 of your CPP as tax free.

  57. William

    What is the maximum transfer amount into a RRIF from an RRSP or IPP?



  58. Lisa

    It should be noted that you can convert your RRSPs to a RRIF at any time not just when you reach the age of 71. Also you do not have to convert the whole RRSP to a RRIF before age 71 you can do partial if income is needed.

  59. Doug Bammer

    Jim is it possible to combine a RRIF and LIF (my wife has an RRSP, a spousal RRSP, and a LIF).

  60. Shakila

    I see a lot of questions Burt not enough answers

  61. Mahmood Fazal

    Towards end of article it’s mentioned that “If you are over age of 65…….considered pension income for tax purposes “. For tax splitting income with spouse, isn’t as long as you are drawing out CPP and not necessarily to be over 65?

  62. Gord

    I am presently withdrawing the minimum from my RIFF. I am advised that if I pass away my beneficiaries with have to pay 54% tax on my remaining RIFF amount. Is it better to withdraw my RIFF funds at a lower tax rate and reinvest in a TFSA, then in other investment options?

  63. Jim Corsbie

    If you cash in rrif and RRSP at a no tax or low tax rate then reinvesting into TFSA or open funds your heirs will pay at a lower rate than the 54%. Check with a tax accountant about the most you should cash in now. RRSP and rrif give tax deferal. Now you have to decide when to pay

  64. F. Scott

    Just read the article RRIF guide: Everything you need to know about the Registered Retirement Income Fund. One sentence says “If you require a large lump sum for a major purchase, travel, or some other purpose, that’s available too.” Does this mean you can lump annual withdrawals and “pre-withdraw” 3 to 5 years of the minimum or you can just take a lump sum but still to withdraw the minimum the following year?

    • richardm Miron

      you can withdraw any amount in any year, HOWEVER, you must withdraw the minimum each year, regardless of any prior year withdrawals

  65. Hugh Aspinall

    My wife has both a spousal and personal RRIF. In order to avoid the nuisance of covering two accounts, we would rather that these RRIF accounts be blended. We have not made contributions to RRSPs for over two years. Her bank says “no”. Any comments?

  66. Con Col

    I have 4 different RIFF accounts at 4 different financial institutions. I am required to withdraw from each of the 4 institutions. Can I make the total minimum withdrawal from of the total value of my RIFF from only one institution. Meaning if have a RIFF at a) 100,000 b) 10,000 c) 50,000 and d) 40,000 – can I pull the entire minimum from only c. Leaving my investments at A B and D intact.


    • richardm Miron

      cannot be done, each RRIF must pay out minimum yearly. To accomplish want you want, you must consolidate the 4 RRIFs into one, at one financial institution

    • richardm Miron

      you can blend the personal RRIF into the Spousal RRIF but not the other way around

  67. John

    “…….until the year you turn 72. Technically, at 71, your minimum….” This always puzzles me. Is it possible to use unambiguous phrase like say ” the year you complete 71 years of your life ” Otherwise, this is a good article as is every article in Retire Happy site.

  68. Alex

    Can you stop income payments from a RRIF? The. Can you invest the RRIF amount into a GIC per 5 years maturity?

  69. Lyn

    I am 54 and have recently retired. Going forward will need to withdraw from my RRSP each year. Let’s say I want $15K each year. My financial institution charges $50 for each withdrawal from RRSP acct but there is no fee to withdraw from RRIF acct. And there is no fee to convert from RRSP to RRIF. So, would it make sense to avoid the $50 RRSP withdrawal fee by doing the following: Convert $19K from RRSP to RRIF (no fee for conversion), then withdraw the full amount from the RRIF (there is no maximum withdrawal limit so I assume I can withdraw all; and there is no fee to withdraw from RRIF). There will be 20% WHT (same would have applied if I withdrew from RRSP), so I should end up with the $15K I am looking for, and will get back the WHT on my tax return. Repeat each year. One other question about this idea – not sure if I can withdraw from RRIF in the same year I make the conversion (eg, convert to RRIF in January, withdraw all in February; repeat the following year); or do I have to wait til the following year (eg, convert to RRIF in December, withdraw all in January; repeat in December). Are there any other flaws with this idea? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    • Gary Sinclair

      What happens when your rrif is invested in second mortgages and everything is basically lost due to default on the first mortgage and property sold with you recovering nothing

  70. Paolo P

    I’m concerned about the fact that the formula for the % of minimum income, ie 1 / (90 – age), exists at all when it’s only applied between 65 – 71. If the formula actually got applied past 71, then the entire RRIF would be depleted by age 90, right?

  71. j.d.

    I need to convert my 2 RRSPS at the end of 2020 (as I am now 71 years old), presumably into only ONE RRIF. The 2 RRSPS are currently being held with 2 different companies. How do I do this conversion into 1 RRIF? Am confused. Also, the 3.96% – is this to be divided in 1/2 – one for each RRSP – that I have to convert? Or how is this to be done? Pls help. Thanks.

  72. Canuk UK

    Due to an error by my financial advisor, my PPP withdrawals during 2019 exceeded my tax free limits thus incurring withdrawals taxes paid on the excess. I have been informed by his head office that, although they’ve accepted fault, they can only settle in cash as they cannot remit the settlement sum back into my RRIF thus reducing its long term value.

    As this was in no way my fault, are there any ways that this settlement can be remitted into my RRIF?

  73. Winston

    My birth day is Dec 5, 1950. What year I must convert my RRSP to RRIF, year 2021 or year 2022, some comments say in 1/1 of the year I am over 71, that is the year I must convert to RRIF, would that mean year 2022.

  74. Bob Holland

    Please explain how a GIC works within a RIFF. Is each GIC a separate RIFF? How would you take an annual withdrawal from a 5 year GIC? Thank you.

  75. Morris

    I am 75 yrs old and still working drawing an income. Where can I invest that would be tax deductible for 2020?

  76. Fred P

    Thank you for the detailed explanation of a RIF
    I have a question related to the withholding tax.
    If I take out an amount greater then the minimum amount, and pay withholding tax e.g. 20%, Goes this amount into my tax return similar as ‘regular’ taxes already paid during payout?
    Any answer is much appreciated.

    • Trudo

      Yes, any dollar amount that was withheld will go on your tax return similar with ‘regular’ taxes paid. If the amount that was withheld was too little, you will have to pay additional tax and if the amount that was withheld was too much, you will be getting a (partial) refund.

  77. Sean

    I have very little in RRSP’s and no pension other than gov’t. ones. My plan was to take out the min. to pay things like insurance, healthcare once a year and live only on pensions and sub income if I qualified.

    Any suggestions considering the costs of rentals here in the GTA.

  78. Anna D

    I hold mining stocks in a RRSP that do not pay out any income or dividends. I turned 71 this year and I assume I need to convert it to a RIF. Does that mean I have to sell some of the stock in order to satisfy the withdrawal requirement? Thank you.

    • Trudo

      Yes, generally speaking you need to sell some of the stocks in order to satisfy the withdrawal rule.

      Potential workaround would be to withdraw in kind to a non-registered account, but I am not sure how the withholding tax would be covered.

  79. Chris

    Do withdrawals beyond the minimum required from multiple RIF accounts get aggregated for minimum withholding tax calculations. For example, if I withdraw $5K from 2 RIF account are the withdrawals taxed at the $5k rate or $10k rate if done once in a quarter?

  80. ron

    What about the mechanics of the withdrawals? Do I have to stipulate a specific amount, or can I just withdraw a random amount each month and then square things up at the end of December to meet the minimum withdrawal requirements?

  81. Dick

    When is best time of year to withdraw (minimum amount) from a RRIF invested in Mutual Funds? Wish to preserve capital and lengthen withdrawal years to the maximum.

  82. Vince MacDougall

    I have a question about pensions. My wife and I have a small pension, only $450 a month combined. Does that disqualify us from the pension income credit or anything else?

  83. MT

    I have an RRIF and I split the RRIF income with my spouse. Can she use the split income that was transferred to her to purchase investments. Will the gain be attributed back to me even though she declared the income and paid the tax on it.

  84. Je

    Are you going to write an article on: Charitable Gift Annuity(Red Cross, Salvation Army…?

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