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How RRIFs work

A brief look at one of the most flexible and tax-effective ways of generating income in retirement.

A Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) is an account registered with the federal government that gives you a steady income in retirement. Before, you were putting money into your RRSP to accumulate savings for retirement. Now, you withdraw that money from your RRIF as retirement income.​

6 things to know about RRIFs

  1. You can open a RRIF anytime, but no later than the end of the year you turn 71.
  2. You open a RRIF by transferring money from your RRSP. Transfers from other registered plans like pension plans and DPSPs are allowed under certain circumstances.
  3. Once the RRIF is set up, you can't make any more contributions to the plan. However, you can have more than 1 RRIF.
  4. You choose the types of investments to hold in a RRIF. Examples: GICs, mutual funds, ETFs, segregated funds, stocks and bonds.
  5. You must take out a minimum amount from your RRIF each year. This amount increases as you get older. There is no maximum withdrawal limit.
  6. If any money is left in your RRIF when you die, it will go to your named beneficiaries or to your estate.

Learn more about how RRIFs work.

You must take out a minimum amount from your RRIF each year. But there is no maximum withdrawal limit.

3 tax considerations

  1. You don’t pay tax on the money in your RRIF, as long as it stays in the plan. This includes any money you make from investing.
  2. You pay tax on the money that you withdraw from your RRIF.
  3. If you take out more than the minimum amount, you'll also pay withholding tax.

Pension income amount

If you're over age 65 and don’t have a company pension plan, withdrawals from your RRIF may qualify for the pension income amount. This means you can withdraw $2,000 per year from your RRIF tax free.

Where to open a RRIF

  • Banks and trust companies
  • Credit unions and caisses populaires
  • Insurance companies
  • Mutual fund companies
  • Investment firms

Creditor protection

RRIF funds are largely protected from creditors if you go bankrupt. But if you open your RRIF in the 12 months before you declare bankruptcy, it can be seized by creditors.


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