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What can I do with my pension if I leave my job before retirement?

You have 60 days after you leave a company to let the pension plan administrator know what you're going to do with your pension. The plan administrator then has 60 days to process your money.

Do I get to keep my pension savings?

If you have a Group Registered Retirement Savings Plan (Group RRSP):

You have the right to keep all the money in your plan.

If you have a defined benefit or defined contribution pension plan:

You have the right to keep the money you have contributed into the plan, plus anything you have made investing that money. You may also be able to keep your company's contributions. You have to be in the plan for a certain length of time. This right is called vesting.

Tip: You may have to wait up to two years before you’re vested. Find out before you leave a plan. Just think: Leaving even just a month too soon could mean you're leaving those pension savings behind you!

What can I do with the money in my pension plan?

There are also clear rules about what you get to do with your workplace savings money when you leave your job before retirement. You may have up to five different options:

1.   Transfer the savings to your new company’s plan
2.   Leave your pension savings in your company’s plan
3.   Buy an annuity to get monthly income for life
4.   Transfer the money to a special retirement income fund
5.   Cash out some or all of your money.

Learn more now

Changing your job, changing your pension: Josh's storyChanging your job, changing your pension: Josh's story

Josh faced these choices when he changed companies after 15 years on the job. To see how he made his decision, read Changing your job, changing your pension: Josh’s story

Remember:  Get the right information.

Talk to your plan administrator about your options, and don’t hesitate to get financial advice. You may have a lot of decisions to make about what happens to your pension savings.