Monetary planning in your 70s

When most individuals take into consideration monetary planning, they consider saving and investing for retirement. That’s actually part of it, however monetary planning is far more holistic.

Listed below are a number of monetary planning methods for these approaching or into their 70s. If you’re not there but, bookmark this for future you, or share it with older members of the family for whom it could apply.


An account holder can solely have a registered retirement financial savings plan (RRSP) till December 31 of the 12 months they flip 71. By that point, they need to both convert their RRSP to a registered retirement revenue fund (RRIF) or buy an annuity from an insurance coverage firm that gives an everyday fee for all times. 

The conversion age was 69, however was elevated to the present age 71 in 2007. I discover in the midst of my work as a Licensed Monetary Planner that some individuals nonetheless suppose it’s 69. It usually is sensible to take RRSP withdrawals previous to age 72, and even convert your RRSP to a RRIF as early as age 65. 

Minimal RRIF withdrawals at age 72 are 5.28% of the account worth on December 31 of the earlier 12 months. The federal government-mandated minimums rise modestly every year thereafter, basically forcing you to attract down your registered saving capital and pay tax on it throughout retirement.

Somebody who nonetheless has RRSP room can contribute to a spousal RRSP for a youthful partner who’s 71 or youthful even after age 71 if they’ve RRSP room to contribute. Whether or not or not they need to nonetheless contribute is one other matter.


Tax-free financial savings accounts (TFSAs) have been round since 2007. That mentioned, I’m shocked by how many individuals should not have TFSAs although they may simply fund them. 

Anybody with money or non-registered investments ought to contemplate contributing to a TFSA. Some retirees have windfalls like inheritances, proceeds from a house downsize, or a sale of actual property that gives funds to contribute to or open a TFSA.

Beneficiary designations

Some accounts, like RRSPs, RRIFs and TFSAs, enable the naming of beneficiaries or different related testamentary recipients (successor annuitants, successor holders, and so on.). This may simplify the property settlement course of on loss of life and will keep away from the prices of authorized charges, probate and property administration tax. 

Most RRSP and RRIF account holders appoint their partner as their beneficiary. If an RRSP or RRIF is left to a partner on loss of life, the account transfers to the surviving partner on a tax-deferred foundation.

RRSPs and RRIFs might be left to a non-spouse beneficiary however will typically end in your complete account being taxable on the ultimate tax return of the account holder. Exceptions might apply if the account is left to a financially dependent youngster or grandchild. 

An necessary level to recollect is that an RRSP beneficiary designation doesn’t routinely switch over when a RRIF account is opened. The beneficiary designation have to be confirmed once more at the moment.

A partner might be named as a TFSA successor holder, versus a beneficiary. Though TFSAs may have non-spouse beneficiaries, a successor holder designation is preferable for a partner over naming them as a beneficiary, as they actually take over the TFSA of the deceased. This may keep away from any danger of the TFSA being taxable after loss of life.  

Be aware that in Quebec, an RRSP, RRIF or TFSA beneficiary can’t be named. Beneficiaries can solely be named in a will in that province. 

Joint possession of property

Dad and mom typically add their kids as joint homeowners of property, like financial institution or funding accounts, or actual property. Usually, the presumption when a dad or mum provides a toddler’s identify to an asset is what is called a “ensuing belief” with the kid appearing as a trustee for the asset for the dad or mum, who retains helpful possession, versus being thought-about an outright present to that youngster.

If a dad or mum intends to present half or a portion of an asset, they need to doc this intention. There could also be tax implications to a present of a capital asset like non-registered shares or actual property. Potential capital features tax or the flexibility to assert the principal residence exemption needs to be thought-about. 

Joint property may very well be topic to claims from a toddler’s collectors, their partner within the occasion of a divorce, or could also be totally accessible to them as a co-owner. If the intention of a collectively held asset just isn’t clear, it may possibly result in disputes after somebody dies, as effectively. 

Joint possession of property might expedite property settlement or keep away from probate or property administration tax however has different dangers. 


Probate or property administration tax is payable to the province or territory to authenticate a will and approve an executor to distribute the property of the deceased. 

Some elements of Canada have little to no probate payable—like Alberta, Quebec and the territories—whereas others like B.C., Ontario, and Nova Scotia have a lot increased charges that may be important for giant estates. 

Beneficiary designations and joint possession of property are widespread methods to keep away from probate. In some circumstances, alter ego, joint associate trusts or naked trustee personal companies might be helpful, in addition to secondary wills for sure varieties of property. 

Funding technique

The Canadian Securities Directors (CSA) not too long ago launched the idea of a Trusted Contact Particular person (TCP) to assist shield older traders. A TCP may very well be contacted if an advisor or agency had cause to consider there was monetary exploitation or a difficulty with an investor’s psychological capability. 

Self-directed traders ought to take into consideration a plan for his or her investments lengthy earlier than they’re now not capable of handle them. Talking about this funding technique to a partner who’s much less financially literate, or to kids, is necessary. Some DIY traders might pre-select a portfolio supervisor to deal with their investments if or after they can’t achieve this themselves. 

Altering danger tolerance is necessary, as effectively, as an investor ages. Generally, the change is a pure a part of rising older; different occasions, it’s as a result of a much less risk-tolerant partner or youngster takes over managing an funding portfolio. 


Tax planning is necessary even in retirement. Environment friendly decumulation of property can scale back lifetime tax, even when it will increase tax at this time. For instance, some property might be offered over a interval of years and even have their worth frozen to cut back a tax legal responsibility on loss of life. 

Some massive tax liabilities on loss of life create property liquidity points, significantly with actual property or a enterprise. A scarcity of liquidity to pay tax on loss of life can complicate property settlement, typically requiring an asset to be offered shortly to pay tax, or requiring the beneficiaries to make use of their very own funds to pay tax. 


This text is simply the tip of the iceberg so far as monetary planning for seniors approaching or into their 70s. Hopefully a few of the ideas are useful to encourage additional dialogue together with your advisors or your loved ones. 

Jason Heath is a fee-only, advice-only Licensed Monetary Planner (CFP) at Goal Monetary Companions Inc. in Toronto. He doesn’t promote any monetary merchandise in anyway.

This text was initially revealed on Feb. 9, 2021, and up to date on Oct. 6, 2022.

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