Registered retirement income—the facts

Registered Retirement Income - The facts

Retirement income—something you need to think about

Retirement—that golden day we look forward to. Whether its simply relishing more leisure activities, taking up a hobby, travelling, boating, cottage life, or whatever else your heart desires, you need to make sure you have income to enjoy your retirement. With that in mind, questions often arise about what to do with your registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and locked-in RRSPs.

Canadians who have RRSPs and locked-in RRSPs must convert them to retirement income by the end of the year they turn 71 years of age. There are several ways to convert these plans into retirement income. But which one is best for you?

What are my retirement income options?

When it comes to converting your RRSPs into retirement income, there are more options available to Canadians today than ever before. Depending on your preferences and goals, you can choose just one option or a combination. Some of today’s options are flexible, so if your financial situation changes, you can even select new options to meet those changing needs. Our Registered retirement income booklet discusses the options in detail, but let’s take a quick look at the key available options.

Registered retirement income fund (RRIF)

This popular choice among Canadians retirees is much like an RRSP, but instead of making contributions, you receive income. You’ll be paid income for as long as you want, as long as there’s money in the plan. There’s a required annual minimum payment but no maximum.  

Life income fund (LIF)/locked-in retirement income fund (LRIF)/restricted life income fund (RLIF)

These income plans are like RRIFs, offering the same flexibility for your investments and have required annual minimum payments, but they also have a maximum payment restriction. They’re funded by money that was originally transferred from a pension plan or from locked-in RRSP accounts. You can find more information about the variations in our booklet.

Prescribed retirement income fund (PRIF)

Much like a LIF, LRIF, or RLIF, a PRIF is funded by money from pensions and locked-in RRSP accounts. There’s a required annual minimum payment, but there’s no maximum payment restriction.  


An annuity can give you guaranteed regular income for the rest of your life or for a specified number of years. You give an insurer a single lump-sum investment and the insurer makes guaranteed regular income payments (that contain both interest and return of capital) to you. 

Make the right retirement income choice

Canadians have been able to save for retirement on a registered (tax-sheltered) basis for many years, and you may have accumulated a substantial sum of money. So, it’s important that you choose the right option for your retirement income. Read our booklet, talk to your advisor about the available options, and determine what type of income plan works best for you.

Advisors, help your clients make the right choice

Turning investments into retirement income is a major financial decision. Work with your clients—consider their long-term goals and all sources of future income, including registered accounts, pension money, and non-registered sources. Help your client to make sure they can use their money for a comfortable, enjoyable retirement. 

This communication is published by Manulife Investment Management.  Any commentaries and information contained in this communication are provided as a general source of information only and should not be considered personal investment, tax, accounting or legal advice and should not be relied upon in that regard. Professional advisors should be consulted prior to acting based on the information contained in this communication to ensure that any action taken with respect to this information is appropriate to their specific situation. Facts and data provided by Manulife Investment Management and other sources are believed to be reliable as at the date of publication.

Certain statements contained in this communication are based, in whole or in part, on information provided by third parties and Manulife Investment Management has taken reasonable steps to ensure their accuracy but can’t be held liable for such information being inaccurate. Market conditions may change which may impact the information contained in this document.

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Tax, Retirement & Estate Planning Services Team

Tax, Retirement & Estate Planning Services Team

Manulife Investment Management

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