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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:

When you retire, your income could come from at least four different sources:

  • Government benefits such as Old Age Security (OAS) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)/Quebec Pension Plan (QPP)
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)/Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs)
  • Work pension plan(s)
  • Other personal savings and investments you may have

For advice on making the most of your income in retirtement, check out the following resources:

Timing your RRIF conversion is very important as this decision can impact the amount of taxes you pay and your government benefits.

You must convert your 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.