What is more important to you when it comes time to take money out of your RRSP or Defined Contribution plan? Is it flexibility, or having a steady stream of income that you know will be protected from the ups and downs of the markets? If certainty is more important, it may be worth taking a look at an Annuity.
With Individual Annuities, you will purchase it with a lump sum of cash all at once -- for example, as a way to convert your RRSP at age 71 (the mandatory age from the Federal Government). The Annuity then guarantees a monthly amount to come to you -- no matter what the markets do.
Some cases where an Annuity might make sense:
- If you have been contributing to your RRSP to plan for retirement and want a specific monthly amount guaranteed
- If you have a Defined Contribution Pension (where the pension will come as a lump sum that has to be converted), it's not locked in and you want guaranteed income
- If you're concerned about market fluctuations and wanted a guaranteed income stream -- even if this income stream had little to no growth
- If you intend the funds to go to, for example, support a family member who was incapable of making good financial decisions -- it would pay them a regular stream of income rather than a lump sum that could quickly disappear
Where it would not make sense is if you might want access to those funds at a later date. Annuities by their nature are "locked in" -- you're giving up access to that lump sum of capital in exchange for the certainty of regular payments. As well, in today's low interest environment, Annuities will often have lower monthly payouts than a plan like a RRIF that is not locked in.
An annuity will provide you with a series of payments for a specified number of years after retirement. Or, it will provide payments for your life, your spouse's life, or the lifetime of both you and your spouse. Different types of annuities are available, including the following:
- Life Annuity which provides income payable as long as you live, most often with a number of years of payments guaranteed to your beneficiary. The most common period selected by people is 10 years.
- Joint Life Annuity which provides income payments for as long as you and your spouse live.
- Term Certain Annuity gives you a specified number of income payments. If you die before all the specified payments have been made, a death benefit is paid to your beneficiary. This option is particularly useful in situations where income is required for a specific length of time. For example, a five-year term may be selected to cover five years remaining on a mortgage.
If you want some income that is guaranteed AND some that is flexible, a combination of income options could work out well. For instance, you may want to purchase a life annuity to cover your basic expenses including food and shelter and receive the rest of your money in a more flexible way.
Contact us today to see if an Annuity is the right investment option for you!
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