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Definition of Registered Retirement Income Fund (Canada)

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Registered Retirement Income Fund (Canada)

Commonly referred to as a RRIF, this is one of the options available to RRSP holders to convert their tax sheltered savings into taxable income.



Related Terms:

Accrued Income

income that has been earned but not yet received. For instance, if you have a non-registered Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC), Mutual fund or Segregated Equity fund, growth accrues annually or semi-annually and is taxable annually even though the gain is only paid at maturity of your investment.


Income Splitting

This is a tax planning strategy of arranging for income to be transferred to family members who are in lower tax brackets than the one earning the income, thus reducing taxes. Even though attribution rules limit income splitting, there are still a number of legitimate ways to do so, such as through the use of spousal RRSPs.


Insured Retirement Plan

This is a recently coined phrase describing the concept of using Universal Life Insurance to tax shelter earnings which can be used to generate tax-free income in retirement. The concept has been described by some as "the most effective tax-neutralization strategy that exists in canada today."
In addition to life insurance, a Universal Life Policy includes a tax-sheltered cash value fund that cannot exceed the policy's face value. Deposits made into the policy are partially used to fund the life insurance and partially grow tax sheltered inside the policy. It should be pointed out that in order for this to work, you must make deposits into this kind of policy well in excess of the cost of the underlying insurance. Investment of the cash value inside the policy are commonly mutual fund type investments. Upon retirement, the policy owner can draw on the accumulated capital in his/her policy by using the policy as collateral for a series of demand loans at the bank. The loans are structured so the sum of money borrowed plus interest never exceeds 75% of the accumulated investment account. The loans are only repaid with the tax free death benefit at the death of the policy holder. Any remaining funds are paid out tax free to named beneficiaries.
Recognizing the value to policy holders of this use of Universal Life Insurance, insurance companies are reworking features of their products to allow the policy holder to ask to have the relationship of insurance to investment growth tracked so that investment growth inside the policy may be maximized. The only potential downside of this strategy is the possibility of the government changing the tax rules to prohibit using a life insurance product in this manner.


Life Income Fund

Commonly known as a LIF, this is one of the options available to locked in registered Pension Plan (RPP) holders for income payout as opposed to registered retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) holders choice of payout through registered retirement income funds (RRIF). A LIF must be converted to a unisex annuity by the time the holder reaches age 80.


Registered Pension Plan

Commonly referred to as an RPP this is a tax sheltered employee group plan approved by Federal and Provincial governments allowing employees to have deductions made directly from their wages by their employer with a resulting reduction of income taxes at source. These plans are easy to implement but difficult to dissolve should the group have a change of heart. Employer contributions are usually a percentage of the employee's salary, typically from 3% to 5%, with a maximum of the lessor of 20% or $3,500 per annum. The employee has the same right of contribution. Vesting is generally set at 2 years, which means that the employee has right of ownership of both his/her and his/her employers contributions to the plan after 2 years. It also means that all contributions are locked in after 2 years and cannot be cashed in for use by the employee in a low income year. Should the employee change jobs, these funds can only be transferred to the RPP of a new employer or the funds can be transferred to an individual RRSP (or any number of RRSPs) but in either scenario, the funds are locked in and cannot be accessed until at least age 60. The only choices available to access locked in RPP funds after age 60 are the conversion to a Life income fund or a Unisex Annuity.
To further define an RPP, registered Pension Plans take two forms; Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution (also known as money purchase plans). The Defined Benefit plan establishes the amount of money in advance that is to be paid out at retirement based usually on number of years of employee service and various formulae involving percentages of average employee earnings. The Defined Benefit plan is subject to constant government scrutiny to make certain that sufficient contributions are being made to provide for the predetermined pension payout. On the other hand, the Defined Contribution plan is considerably easier to manage. The employer simply determines the percentage to be contributed within the prescribed limits. Whatever amount has grown in the employee's reserve by retirement determines how much the pension payout will be by virtue of the amount of LIF or Annuity payout it will purchase.
The most simple group RRSP plan is a group billed RRSP. This means that each employee has his own RRSP plan and the employer deducts the contributions directly from the employee's wages and sends them directly to the RRSP plan administrator. Regular RRSP rules apply in that maximum contribution in the current year is the lessor of 18% or $13,500. Generally, to encourage this kind of plan, the employer also agrees to make a regular contribution to the employee's plans, knowing full well that any contributions made immediately belong to the employee. Should the employee change jobs, he/she can take their plan with them and continue making contributions or cash it in and pay tax in the year in which the money is taken into income.



Registered Retirement Savings Plan (Canada)

Commonly referred to as an RRSP, this is a tax sheltered and tax deferred savings plan recognized by the Federal and Provincial tax authorities, whereby deposits are fully tax deductable in the year of deposit and fully taxable in the year of receipt. The ability to defer taxes on RRSP earnings allows one to save much faster than is ordinarily possible. The new rules which apply to RRSP's are that the holder of such a plan must convert it into income by the end of the year in which the holder turns age 69. The choices for conversion are to simply cash it in an pay full tax in the year of receipt, convert it to a RRIF and take a varying stream of income, paying tax on the amount received annually until the income is exhausted, or converting it into an annuity with guaranteed payments for a chosen number of years, again paying tax each year on moneys received.
If you are currently 69 years of age, you may still contribute to your own RRSP until December 31st of this year and realize a tax deduction on this year's income. You must also, however, make provisions before December 31st of the year for converting your RRSP into either a RRIF or an annuity, otherwise, the full balance of your RRSP becomes taxable on January 1 of the following year. If you are older than age 69, still have earned income, and have a younger spouse, you may continue to contribute to a spousal RRSP until that spouse reaches 69 years of age. Contributions would be based on your own contribution level and are deducted from your taxable income.


Spousal Registered Retirement Savings Plan

This is an RRSP owned by the spouse of the person contributing to it. The contributor can direct up to 100% of eligible RRSP deposits into a spousal RRSP each and every year. Contributing to a spouses RRSP reduces the amount one can contribute to one's own RRSP, however, if the spouse is a lower income earner, it is an excellent way in which to split income for lower taxation in retirement years.


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Segregated Fund

Sometimes called seg funds, segregated funds are the life insurance industry equivalent to a mutual fund with some differences.The term "Mutual fund" is often used generically, to cover a wide variety of funds where the investment capital from a large number of investors is "pooled" together and invested into specific stocks, bonds, mortgages, etc.
Since Segregated funds are actually deferred annuity contracts issued by life insurance companies, they offer probate and creditor protection if a preferred beneficiary such as a spouse is named. Mutual funds don't have this protection.
Unlike mutual funds, segregated funds offer guarantees at maturity (usually 10 years from date of issue) or death on the limit of potential losses - at times up to 100% of original deposits are guaranteed which makes them an attractive alternative for the cautious and/or long term investor. On the other hand, with regular mutual funds, it is possible to have little or nothing left at death or plan maturity.


Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

A plan that provides retirement and long term disability income benefits to residents of Canadian provinces (excluding Quebec).


Pension Fund

Assets used to pay the pensions of retirees. An investment institution established to manage the assets used to pay the pensions of retirees.


Segregated Fund

A pool of assets held by the insurer, to back a specific liability to a policyholder. Segregated funds flucuate in value depending on the market value of a specific group of assets the company must maintain separately.


Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

The National Housing Act (NHA) authorized canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to operate a Mortgage Insurance fund which protects NHA Approved Lenders from losses resulting from borrower default.


Gross Household Income

Gross household income is the total salary, wages, commissions and other assured income, before deductions, by all household members who are co-applicants for the mortgage.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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