Evaluating tour RRSP roll-over options
You’ve already made a very wise choice by establishing a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and faithfully contributing to it for many years. Now it’s time to reap the rewards by using your plan funds as part (probably an important part) of your retirement income. And, if you’re turning 71 by the end of this year, you are required by law to wind down your RRSP before 2016. Either way, you have some important choices to make. You have three basic RRSP roll-over options to choose from and the right choices can help make the most of those funds through all your retirement years. These are your roll-over options:
• Cash out your plan
Definitely not recommended because you will likely be taxed on the total amount right away at your highest marginal rate.
• A Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) – the preferred roll-over choice for most Canadians
Just like an RRSP, a RRIF generates investment returns that combine with the principal amount to create an income stream. Your money will continue to grow tax-free until you take it out as income. You can’t contribute any additional money to a RRIF and you’ll pay taxes on the amounts you withdraw. Depending on your age, you must withdraw minimum amounts from your RRIF each year but there is no limit on the maximum amount you can withdraw (although you won’t want to deplete your RRIF too soon).
• Purchase an annuity – the second-most-popular RRSP roll-over option
You contract with a financial institution to receive a regular income (usually monthly) for life or to a specified age in exchange for a fixed amount of money. There’s no need to manage the securities but your payments will be fixed and won’t increase to compensate for inflation or rising living costs. As well, if you purchase an annuity at a low interest rate, your payments will be lower over the life of the annuity. Many types of annuities are available, from life annuities to term to 90 annuities that provide income to age 90.
There can be definite advantages to transferring a portion of your RRSP assets to a RRIF and the remainder to a life annuity that provides the income to pay for basic expenses.
The best advice for someone facing RRSP roll-over choices? Start planning well in advance.
– from the Investors Group