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There’s a lot to think about when it comes time to retire. Connect with us or your advisor before your retirement date to understand when you can expect to start receiving retirement income and more. You’re not alone, we’re here to help.

3-5 years from retirement

  • Sign in to mycanadalifeatwork.comOpens a new website in a new window and update your retirement goal on the home page to see if you’re on track.
  • Consider moving to lower-risk investments, increasing contributions and paying down debt.
  • Learn how plan rules, income tax and government legislation will affect your income.
  • Write down how you expect your lifestyle to change, such as travel, moving to a new home, part-time work.
  • Track current spending to create a budget for retirement. Don’t forget inflationOpens a new website in a new window.
  • Estimate your cash flow from personal savings, company retirement plans and government benefits.
  • Talk with your spouse and family about your plans. Take advantage of income splitting with your partner by opening up a spousal registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) account.

1 year from retirement

  • Go over your budget to see if it will meet your needs.
  • Ensure you meet age requirements for receiving income.
  • Review your will, powers of attorney, investments. Do you have enough health and life insurance?
  • Combine your retirement savings for generally higher interest rates and lower investment fees.
  • Find out what your retirement income could be. Our Income wizardOpens a new website in a new window can help.
  • Speak with an advisor or investment and retirement specialist for personal guidance. We can help you through the transition.

6 months from retirement

  • Choose your income options.
  • Review beneficiaries for your company and personal savings plans.
  • Let your benefits administrator know you’re retiring and complete paperwork.
  • Apply for government benefits. Contact Service Canada for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and old age security (OAS). Contact Retraite Québec for Quebec Pension Plan (QPP).
  • Remember your mental health during this life change. The Workplace Strategies for Mental Health websiteOpens a new website in a new window has resources related to retirement that can help.

Description: This video combines footage of a Canadian couple close to retirement with graphics and text to explain the differences between annuities, RRIFs and LIFs.

Narrator: If you’re retiring soon,

Description: A pre-retired woman sits on the back porch of her home reading a book. A lush garden appears in the distance.

Narrator: it’s time to think about turning your RRSP and pension savings into income.

Description: Cut to her smiling as she turns the page.

Narrator: There are three ways to do this - an annuity, a RRIF or a LIF.

Description: The frame divides in half and a bulleted list appears: “Annuity,” “Registered retirement income fund (RRIF)” and “Life income fund (LIF).”

Narrator: An annuity is a type of insurance policy you purchase with your retirement savings.

Description: Cut to an illustrated shield graphic with a checkmark inside to represent insurance. The camera zooms out and two stacks of money fade in.

Narrator: Based on the features you choose, your age and the interest rate when you buy your annuity,

Description: Three illustrated graphics animate into frame: A checklist to represent features, a birthday cake for age and a paper with percentage sign for interest rate.

Narrator: it provides guaranteed retirement income for the rest of your life and your spouse’s life.

Description: Cut to a horizontal bar graph showing income from “Retirement” to the remainder of a retiree’s “Lifetime.” As the bar fills in, dollar signs appear along each interval to show a consistent income.

Narrator: A RRIF or LIF gives you more control over your retirement income with potential for growth.

Description: The bar graph changes to show investment growth over time. Different dollar sign amounts appear to show a changing income.

Narrator: RRIFs are for savings currently in RRSPs.

Description: Cut to a chart labelled “RRIF” and “LIF.” “Savings currently in RRSPs” appears under “RRIF.”

Narrator: LIFs are for savings in locked-in RRSPs or a pension plan and have a minimum and maximum withdrawal limit per year.

Description: “Savings in locked-in RRSPs or a pension plan” and “Minimum and maximum withdrawal limit per year” appear under “LIF.”

Narrator: In both cases, you choose the investments and decide how much to withdraw, within limits.

Description: Cut to four pie graphs with investment graphics.

Narrator: How long your money lasts with a RRIF or LIF

Description: Return to the horizontal bar graph showing income from “Retirement” to the remainder of a retiree’s “Lifetime.”

Narrator: depends on how your investments perform and how much you withdraw.

Description: Two pie graphs shrink in size and the income recedes from “Lifetime.”

Narrator: Each year, annuity payments and RRIF or LIF withdrawals will be taxed as income.

Description: An illustrated graphic paper with percentage sign and dollar sign appears.

Narrator: Depending on your needs, a combination of an annuity and RRIF

Description: Two buttons with the words “Annuity” and “RRIF” appear with a plus sign in-between.

Narrator: or LIF can work.

Description: “RRIF” is swapped with “LIF.”

Narrator: But you have to turn your RRSPs and pension into income by the end of the year you turn 71.

Description: An outline of a circle with age 68 displayed in the middle. The circle fills in as age reaches 71.

Narrator: Ease into retirement and enjoy your hard-earned savings.

Description: Cut back to the pre-retired woman and her husband sitting on the back porch sipping coffee.

Narrator: For more information or if you need help, contact us.

Description: Words “Talk to your advisor or visit to book an appointment with a Canada Life member guide.” appear onscreen with Canada Life logo and legal lines: Canada Life and design and My Canada Life at Work are trademarks of The Canada Life Assurance Company. 1-800-724-3402

You have a wide range of retirement income options. Depending on what you choose, many factors will affect how much income you may get, such as your age or your spouse’s age, your savings’ value, rates of return and government legislation. The Income wizard can give a general idea of what your savings may look like as a monthly income. However, you should speak with your financial advisor or one of our investment and retirement specialists.

Two popular options are: registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) and annuities. If you want to choose – and change – your income, RRIFs can help you to do that (subject to minimums). To cover your basic living expenses for the rest of your life, an annuity can help. You could also choose both an RRIF and an annuity.

Enter your information such as your desired retirement date and current savings plan(s) to see graphs and charts of your results. You get a report showing the estimated income from a registered retirement income fund (RRIF), a prescribed registered retirement income fund (PRRIF) and a life income fund (LIF).

Income wizard: smartpathnow.comOpens a new website in a new window

Freedom to Choose™ health and dental insurance: Get a quote today. Call 1-800-565-4066 or visit a new website in a new window

Service Canada: 1-800-277-9914 or canada.caOpens a new website in a new window

Retraite Québec: 1-800-463-5185 or retraitequebec.gouv.qc.caOpens a new website in a new window

Retirement income solutions booklet: sign in at mycanadalifeatwork.comOpens a new website in a new window