At some point every retiree with an RRSP is going to need to make a decision about converting their RRSP to a RRIF. The Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) works very similarly to the RRSP with a couple notable exceptions.
One of those exceptions is that there is a minimum RRIF withdrawal. Retirees need to make this minimum withdrawal from their RRIF each year. This minimum withdrawal escalates each year as the retiree gets older. By the time a retiree reaches their mid-90s they are forced to withdrawal 20% of their RRIF each year!
Because the withdrawal is a minimum, and conversion from a RRSP to a RRIF is mandatory, this often leads retirees to believe that keeping money in a RRIF is a good idea. After all, if they’re being forced to take money out, wouldn’t that suggest that keeping money in is a good idea?
For many retirees, taking out only the minimum RRIF withdrawal each year is actually a bad idea. Many retirees would benefit from a different RRIF withdrawal strategy. Many retirees would benefit from taking out more than the minimum each year. They would increase their financial flexibility, they would decrease the tax on their estate, and they could even qualify for certain benefits late in retirement.
RRIF withdrawal strategy is especially important now. The federal government just announced that the minimum RRIF withdrawal for 2020 will be reduced by 25%. This may lead many retirees to “take advantage” of this opportunity when it’s not necessarily in their best interest.
In this post we’ll look at RRIF withdrawal rules, the minimum RRIF withdrawal percentage by age, and we’ll explore two scenarios where we show how a retiree can benefit from RRIF withdrawals that are larger than the minimum.
We’ll also explore how this strategy is even more impactful now, after a large stock market correction.
How do tax tax brackets work? How do you figure out your tax bracket? These are important questions, especially when you’re trying to make the most of your money.
Figuring out your tax bracket can be very helpful when making personal finance decisions. It can help you decide which type of account to use, for example the TFSA or the RRSP. It can also help you understand how much you’ll keep after receiving a raise. It can help you understand how much tax you’ll pay on any extra spending in retirement.
Understanding how tax brackets work, and what tax bracket you’re in, will help you make smarter financial decisions.
But tax brackets can be confusing, they can feel like a real mess of numbers. And even when you understand how tax brackets work there is something called your marginal effective tax rate that can add to the complexity. This is when we look at both income tax rates plus government benefit clawback rates. Looking at both income tax rates and government benefit clawback rates at the same time can expand the number of tax brackets to 10-20+
In this post we’re going to show you how tax brackets work with a few visual examples. We’ll break down a few different income levels into their different tax brackets.
We’ll also talk about tax deductions and tax credits and how they affect (or don’t affect) your tax bracket. Lastly, we’ll touch on marginal effective tax rates.
Do you have to file taxes each year? Technically no, if you meet certain criteria, but you probably should anyway.
Filing taxes doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many great tools and resources that can help make filing taxes easy. But the longer you put it off the more difficult it will become. So even if you don’t need to file it’s a good idea to do it every year.
Technically the government doesn’t force you to file taxes unless you meet certain criteria. If the government owes you money in the form of a tax refund then they’re happy to hold onto that money for you indefinitely. As you’ll see below, there are certain criteria that the government looks at when determining if you need to file a tax return or not.
But even though you may not NEED to file a tax return you probably should. There are many good reasons to file your tax return each year.
Not filing a tax return may mean that you’re leaving money on the table, not just in the form of a tax refund but also the potential government benefits that you may be eligible for.
RRSP contributions can be a great tool to help manage your income taxes before and after retirement. They can also be a great tool to help manage your government benefits in a similar way. RRSP contributions affect government benefits like the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), Ontario Child Benefit (OCB), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), GST/HST Credit, Ontario Sales Tax Credit etc etc.
What many people may not realize is that most government benefits have a “claw back” rate that acts like a tax rate. If you earn more income the “clawback” rate will reduce your government benefits. But the opposite also happens, if you make an RRSP contribution and your income goes down, then this “clawback” rate will work in reverse and it will increase your government benefits!
There are a couple situations where RRSP contributions can have a BIG effect on government benefits. Let’s take a look at two real life examples.
One example is a senior who is receiving GIS benefits. We’re going to plan some strategic RRSP contributions to help them maximize their GIS benefits. This is counter-intuitive, we’re always told that TFSAs are best for low-income individuals, but in this case we can use RRSP contributions strategically to maximize GIS.
The second example is a young family with three children. They’re receiving the Canada Child Benefit and the Ontario Child Benefit and we’re going to plan some strategic RRSP contributions to help them maximize their family benefits.
Both the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) are tax-sheltered accounts offered to Canadians by the government as a way to help save and invest without the drag of income tax on annual returns.
Although both are great ways to help grow your money, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you.
Often one type of account (either TFSA or RRSP) is better for an individual than the other. In most cases we would prefer to maximize one of these accounts before moving on to the next.
Which account we choose, TFSA or RRSP, will depend on a number of factors. These factors may change over time. It’s reasonable to assume that a new grad entering the work force would be better suited to maximizing their TFSA first but as their income grows they may prefer to start focusing on their RRSP instead.
This decision between TFSA or RRSP often involves looking at your marginal effective tax rate today and your marginal effective tax rate in the future. You marginal effective tax rate is your income tax rate PLUS the claw back rate you experience from government benefits.
Making the right decision between TFSA or RRSP can help save $100,000’s over time.
It can mean paying thousands LESS in income tax and it can mean qualifying for thousands MORE in government benefits (like the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) or the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or one of dozens of other government benefits that are available).
The Tax-Free-Savings-Account (TFSA) is a great way to save and invest for the future. In our opinion, it’s the best tax advantaged account in Canada, and probably the first tax advantaged account most people should use (versus an RRSP or RESP). But with all the rules it can be very misunderstood.
To get the most out of your TFSA you have to have a good idea of how it works, what the benefits are, and what the limitations are.
The Canadian government introduced TFSAs in 2009 as an incentive to help any Canadians 18 years or older save more money. Although called a “Tax Free Savings Account”, the TFSA is more than an average savings account.
Even though the TFSA has been around for 10+ years, there is still a lot of confusion about how TFSAs work and what the benefits are.
In this post we’ll do an ELI5 for the TFSA (ELI5 = explain it like i’m 5-years old) and share some of the important considerations when using a TFSA.