Why investing in RRSPs or RRIFs is no different

Only the mandatory withdrawal rules differ

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From the November 2015 issue of the magazine.

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Q: I retired early and put my pension money into a “locked in” plan. I need to convert this account into a RRIF at age 71, but want to continue using a self-directed plan. Can I still do self-directed investing?

—Gary Galawan, Winnipeg, MB.

A: Did you know that adult colouring books are now a “thing”? It’s true. I know quite a few retirees who have added colouring to their list of hobbies. It sounds like investing is one of your hobbies, and I’m happy to say you’re going to be able to continue long after you turn 71. Sun Life financial advisor Paula MacMillan explains that, “if this is pension money that moved into a LIRA (Locked-in Retirement Account), then it becomes a LIF (Life Income Fund). If it is locked-in RRSP money then it becomes a RRIF. Either investment can remain in a self-directed account throughout the client’s lifetime.” The main difference between an RRSP and a RRIF is the mandatory withdrawal you have to make each year. But you can still trade as before, just as you would in an RRSP, TFSA or RESP. One last thing: Check to confirm that your money will indeed be transferred into a RRIF when the time comes. If, instead, it is transferred to a LIF it will be subject to a maximum annual withdrawal, in addition to a minimum withdrawal.

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