Converting your RRSP to a RRIF

Published on : June 22, 2023

You can convert your RRSP to a RRIF at any time. But most people do so when they retire. In any event, no one can own an RRSP after December 31 of the year they turn age 71. You must do something* before that deadline or you’ll have to take all the money from your RRSP into income and pay tax on it. By directly transferring your RRSP to a RRIF, you’ll start taking minimum withdrawals in the following year and defer taxes on the balance of your RRIF.

Can you convert your RRSP to a RRIF early?

You don’t have to wait until you’re 71 to convert your RRSP into a RRIF. You can do it at 30 if it makes sense with your situation. For example, it may be beneficial to convert your RRSP to a RRIF early if you need income to cover the cost of:

  • early retirement,
  • taking a sabbatical, or
  • a family emergency (e.g. illness of a child or a spouse, car accident, etc.).

However, it’s important to note that the purpose of a RRIF is for you to have income during your retired years. If you start making RRIF withdrawals in your 30s or 40s, then you’re reducing the amount you’ll have available in later years. Instead of dipping into your retirement savings early, you may want to consider using alternate sources of income, such as:

Think of your RRIF as a last resort – only dip into it if you have to. You can convert your RRIF back to an RRSP at any time.

Can you transfer RRIF funds back to an RRSP?


Yes, you can convert your RRIF back to an RRSP. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll still have to withdraw the minimum amount in the year you convert your RRIF back to an RRSP. Also, note that once you withdraw cash from your RRSP or RRIF, you’ll have to pay tax on it.

What’s more, you’ll still have to do something* with your RRSP before the end of the year you turn age 71. Connect with an advisor to find the most tax-efficient option for you.

* With RRSPs, you must choose one of 3 options by the end of the year you turn 71: transfer your RRSP to a RRIF, purchase an annuity or withdraw the funds from your account.

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More about RRIFs

Find out how a RRIF works and get more answers to frequently asked questions.