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Best RRIF Investments in Canada 2023

A Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) is a retirement account you can use to generate steady income during your retirement years.

An offshoot of the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), you can use save and invest in your RRIF using similar investments (ETFs, stocks, mutual funds) and deposit products (cash and GICs).

Read on to learn about some of the best RRIF investment options to consider in 2023.

Best RRIF Investments in Canada

An RRIF can hold a variety of investment assets, and what you have in your portfolio should ultimately be decided by your risk tolerance, income needs, and time horizon.

For example, for short-term income needs and cash flow, you want to protect your capital, and cash savings or a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) are good options.

For capital appreciation over time, you will need to take some risks, and this is where Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), stocks, mutual funds, etc., come into play.

1. RRIF Savings Accounts

An RRIF savings account works like any other savings account, except that it is registered with the government, and you don’t pay taxes on income earned until you make a withdrawal.

RRIF interest rates are not as high as seniors would like, although they are starting to trend up since the Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate to combat spiking inflation rates.

RRIF savings are almost risk-free since deposits are protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation up to $100,000.

The best RRIF rates for savings are often offered by online banks such as Outlook Financial, AcceleRate Financial, and Achieva Financial.

2. RRIF GIC Accounts

A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) pays a specific interest rate on your investment over a period of time.

Your money is usually locked away for a few months to years, although you may be able to cash out early if the GIC is redeemable.

GICs are safe investments and are also guaranteed by the CDIC.

Like savings accounts, RRIF GIC rates in Canada are not very attractive, although they are starting to rise.

Here are some GIC products in Canada.

As you will quickly notice, the best RRIF GIC rates are offered by online banks and credit unions.

3. Self-Directed RRIFs

You can grow your RRIF portfolio by investing in risky assets such as:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds

These assets can be purchased online using a self-directed brokerage account.

ETFs are a basket of securities, often holding thousands of stocks and bonds, and they provide the following benefits:

  • Global diversification and lower risk than buying individual stocks
  • Potential higher returns than a savings or GIC account
  • Lower management fees than mutual funds

You can design an ETF portfolio to be income, conservative, balanced, or growth-oriented. There are also all-in-one ETF portfolios that are pre-designed to suit various risk profiles.

Some of the best trading platforms to buy ETFs are Wealthsimple Trade, Questrade, and Qtrade.

Questrade: This is one of the largest independent ETF trading platforms in Canada. All ETF purchases are commission-free, and you pay competitive fees when trading stocks or selling ETFs.

You can get a $50 trading fee credit when you open an account and fund it with at least $1,000.

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4. Managed RRIF Investments

If you are not comfortable buying and selling ETFs or stocks yourself, you can still save on fees by using a robo-advisor.

These wealth management companies do all the work on your behalf, including:

  • Designing your investment portfolio and purchasing low-cost ETFs on your behalf
  • Rebalancing your portfolio when required
  • Providing financial advice
  • Minimizing taxes using tax-loss harvesting

The top robo-advisor in Canada is Wealthsimple Invest.

When you open an account here and fund it with $500+, you receive a $25 bonus.

Your investments at a brokerage platform or robo-advisor are insured against insolvency by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) for up to $1 million.

5. Annuity

Instead of rolling over your RRSP into an RRIF, you can choose to buy an annuity instead.

An annuity is a type of insurance policy that pays you regular income over a period of time or your lifetime.

The three types of annuities are:

  • Life annuity
  • Term-certain annuity
  • Variable annuity

What is a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

An RRIF is a government-registered account you can use to hold your retirement savings and investments.

At age 71, you are required to close your RRSP account and either withdraw the cash, convert it to an RRIF, or purchase an annuity.

RRIF Withdrawal Rules

You are required to withdraw a minimum amount from your RRIF every year.

The minimum RRIF withdrawal is based on your age (or that of your spouse) and is as follows:

AgeRRIF factors (2015+)AgeRRIF factors (2015+)
Under 711/(90 – age)837.71%
715.28%848.08%
725.40%858.51%
735.53%868.99%
745.67%879.55%
755.82%8810.21%
765.98%8910.99%
776.17%9011.92%
786.36%9113.06%
796.58%9214.49%
806.82%9316.34%
817.08%9418.79%
827.38%95+20.00%

For example, at age 71, the minimum withdrawal rate is 5.28%. You can also use an RRIF calculator to estimate your RRIF withdrawals.

Withdrawals from an RRIF are taxable at the source, and the following withholding taxes apply:

RRIF WithdrawalWithholding tax (except Quebec)
Up to $5,00010%
$5,001 to $15,00020%
$15,000+30%
RRIF WithdrawalQuebec (Federal Tax)Quebec (Provincial Tax)
Up to $5,0005%16%
$5,001 to $15,00010%16%
$15,000+15%16%

You can withdraw more than the minimum from your RRIF account.

RRIF Strategies

You can use the age of a younger spouse to determine your minimum RRIF withdrawals. This lowers how much you must withdraw and offers flexibility and tax advantages.

If you qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or want to avoid OAS clawback, managing your RRIF income can be crucial.

While you can no longer contribute to your RRIF, if you have leftover RRSP contribution room and a younger spouse, you could consider contributing to a spousal RRSP.

You can continue to invest and save in a TFSA while withdrawing income from your RRIF.

Lastly, you can open more than one RRIF account and transfer RRIF accounts between financial institutions.

RRSP vs. RRIF

  • Unlike an RRSP, you can no longer contribute to an RRIF when it is opened. You can only take money out
  • RRSPs must be closed when you turn 71
  • You can hold similar investments in an RRSP and RRIF
  • Withdrawals from both RRIF and RRSPs are included in your taxable income for the year

RRIF Investment FAQs

What are the investment options for RRIFs?

You can have the same investments from your RRSP account in an RRIF, including cash, stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and GICs.

Can I have more than one RRIF?

Yes, you can open more than one RRIF account.

Can I avoid paying taxes on my RRIF?

No, taxes are withheld when you make a withdrawal from your RRIF, including cash, stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and GICs.

Can I have more than one RRIF?

Yes, you can open more than one RRIF account.

Can I avoid paying taxes on my RRIF?

No, taxes are withheld when you make a withdrawal from your RRIF. Depending on your overall taxable income, you may be due for a tax refund at tax time.

What happens to RRIF after death?

If you have designated a qualified beneficiary, they receive the funds as a transfer to their own RRIF account. Otherwise, RRIF funds are included in the estate and taxed.

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, CBC News, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, and many other personal finance publications. You can learn more about him on the About Page.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

2 thoughts on “Best RRIF Investments in Canada 2023”

  1. Gravatar for Jean-Louis Bui

    Hello Enoch,¸

    Is LifeAnnuities.com legit and safe entity to entrust a RRIF account ?
    Thank you very much.

    Best regards,

    Jean-louis Bui

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

      @Jean-louis Bui: Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the company.

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