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Whether you require the income or not, you must convert your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to a retirement income option, such as a RRIF or annuity, by December 31 of the year in which you turn age 71.


Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

RRIFs are the most flexible of the retirement income options, when converting your RRSP, since you maintain complete control over your savings. The money you transfer to your RRIF continues to grow tax-sheltered until withdrawn as income.

You must take minimum payment amounts out of your RRIF annually. That amount is determined at the beginning of each year by a calculation that uses your age and the market value of the assets in your account as of December 31 of the previous year. RRIF payments are considered taxable income in the year they are withdrawn.

Use our calculator to determine your minimum annual RRIF payments at various ages throughout retirement or learn more about RRIFs.



An annuity is a financial contract between you and an insurance company. You deposit a lump sum with the insurer and, in return, receive guaranteed payments of a pre-determined amount. Each payment is a combination of a return of the original capital and interest income. Only the interest income is taxable. When purchasing an annuity, you effectively transfer all of the risk of investing to the expertise of the insurer.

You can buy different types of annuities:

  • Life annuity – provides income payments for as long as you live – usually with a guarantee of continued payment to your beneficiary should you die.
  • Joint and last survivor annuity – Income payments are made for as long as you and your spouse live.
  • Term certain annuity – specifies the number of income payments. If you die before all the specified payments have been made a death benefit is paid to your beneficiary.

Talk to an RBC Advisor