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Top Retirement FAQs

Your retirement will be as unique as you are. Travel, sports, hobbies … no one will combine these and other activities the same way you will. Your retirement plan should be just as unique.

After all, no one has the exact same retirement benefit plans, tax considerations and priorities as you. That’s why you need a personalized approach to provide steady income when your regular paycheque stops.

Working with an RBC Financial Planner is one of the easiest ways to get started with your retirement plan. In addition, you can use resources like the ones below to help guide your conversation:

MyAdvisor is a secure, one-of-a-kind online service that combines interactive planning tools and advice from a live advisor to help you be better prepared for retirement. It’s exclusive to RBC clients, easy to use and available to you at no extra cost.

  • See what you have with more certainty. MyAdvisor show’s you how you’re doing with powerful visuals and forecasts of your goals, net worth and cash flow.
  • Link outside accounts for a complete picture. Have savings and investments outside of RBC? MyAdvisor lets you quickly link them for an up-to-date look at your money.
  • Receive personalized advice. Meet with a live advisor through video chat, by phone or in person to review your retirement plan, talk strategy or to simply ask a question.
  • Make changes to your retirement savings plan at any time. Want to see a recommendation from your advisor or make a change to your plan? Simply log in to your MyAdvisor dashboard.
  • Stay on track toward your goal with email alerts. Progress alerts let you know whether you need to adjust the amount you are saving in order to reach your retirement goal.
  • Get started in a few simple, hassle-free steps. In minutes, you’ll have an idea of where you stand, see recommendations to help you grow your savings, and be able to book a one-on-one with an advisor.

Read more about MyAdvisor.

Timing your Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) conversion is very important as this decision can impact the amount of taxes you pay and your government benefits.

You must convert your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to a RRIF or an annuity—or cash it out (not typically recommended)—by December 31 of the year you turn 71. You can also make the switch before then if you need the income.

Since RRIF payments are considered taxable income in the year you take the money out, these amounts are added to your “other income” for tax purposes. Once you convert to a RRIF, you have to withdraw a minimum amount each year and that money will be taxed. Your withdrawals can also reduce certain government benefits such as Old Age Security (OAS).

For help knowing when to convert your RRSP, talk to an RBC Financial Planner. He or she can help you understand your options and suggest strategies to help you make the most of your income.


Taxes are an important part of income planning in retirement. That’s because you may be getting more of your income from personal savings and distributions from your investments, which can be taxed at different rates. This can have a big impact on the after-tax dollars that you have to spend in retirement.

The chart below shows the after-tax cash flow from different kinds of distributions.

It's not what you earn - it's what you keep. For every $1,000 in annual pre-tax cash flow, how much is left after tax? Interest: $650. Capital Gains: $825. Canadian Dividends: $862. Return of Capital: $1,000. Based on an investor with a 35% marginal tax rate. Note: Return of capital distributions are not taxable in the year they are received, but do lower your adjusted cost base, which could lead to a higher capital gain or smaller capital loss when the investment is eventually sold.

With careful planning, you may be able to reduce or delay paying tax on income from your personal savings. Ask an RBC Financial Planner to create a retirement income plan that gives you the income you need in the most tax-efficient way possible.

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Financial planning services and investment advice are provided by Royal Mutual Funds Inc. (RMFI). RMFI, RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. RMFI is licensed as a financial services firm in the province of Quebec.
The content of this publication is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific financial, investment, tax, legal, accounting or other advice for you, and should not be relied upon in that regard. All charts, illustrations, examples, case studies and other demonstrative content are general and have been provided in this publication for illustrative purposes only. The case studies included do not represent actual events or real individuals. While efforts are made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information at the time of publication, errors and omissions may occur. Readers should consult their own professional advisors when planning to implement a strategy. This will ensure that individual circumstances have been considered properly and that action is taken on the latest available information. Interest rates, market conditions, tax and legal rules and other investment factors are subject to change.