RRSPs, TFSAs and retirement
Many Canadians concentrate on using registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to save for retirement. However, more and more are finding out about the flexibility of using a tax-free saving account (TFSA) both to save for retirement and use in retirement for income.
The benefits of using a TFSA in retirement
There are lots of good reasons to use a TFSA in retirement.
- You can keep contributing to a TFSA for as long as you live, unlike an RRSP which you must convert to a RRIF at age 71. If you have more retirement income than you need, you can place it in your TFSA, providing you have contribution room.
- Your TFSA contribution room will continue to grow annually as long as you live.
- TFSA contribution limits aren’t based on income, so regardless of your income in retirement, you know how much you can save in your TFSA.
- If you require more income in a certain year, you can withdraw money from your TFSA without paying income tax.
- The only limit to how much money you can withdraw from your TFSA is the amount you have in it, unlike other retirement plans
- TFSA withdrawals won’t impact your threshold to receive payments from Old Age Security (OAS) or the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
How to use your TFSA in retirement
You can use your TFSA to help you achieve several needs unique to retirement.
If you’re still earning income in retirement by working part-time or by other means, you can continue to put money into your TFSA (up to your contribution limit) and watch the proceeds grow tax-free.
The same goes for income you may not need from your minimum required RRIF withdrawal.
You may also decide to transfer money from a non-registered investment to a TFSA. You’ll pay tax at the time the investment is sold or transferred, but you can look forward to future tax-free growth and withdrawals.
Withdraw tax-free income
If you require money to cover a large expense such as a home renovation, a vacation or even long-term care, you can withdraw it from your TFSA without impacting your income tax bracket.
If you were deferring taking CPP/QPP and OAS benefits until age 70 to maximize their payout, you can use TFSA withdrawals to supplement taxable income from other sources such as a RRIF.
By naming your spouse a “successor holder” on your TFSA, they can take over your TFSA upon your death with no tax complications.
If you want to leave TFSA money to a child or other survivor, you can name them as a beneficiary, and they’ll get the proceeds tax-free.
You can also name a charity as a TFSA beneficiary and when they receive the funds, the tax will be offset by the donation tax credit.
Or you can name your estate as a TFSA beneficiary, in which case the assets may be applied to any estate tax which may be payable.