If you have a Defined Benefit Pension Plan (DB Pension), you likely have questions about how it works and how it interacts with your overall financial plan. In our latest Question From Clients video, Kelley Doerksen, CFP® explains some of the key information you need to know about these plans.
It’s common to have a pension from your employer that you contribute to and know very little about! Especially if you contribute to a “Defined Benefit” pension (often referred to simply as a DB pension). While each pension is unique, let’s look at 6 similarities:
1. Predictable Income for a Lifetime
Once retired and your pension begins, a DB pension will pay you a set amount of income for your lifetime. Some pensions also offer indexing, which will increase your income by some percentage of inflation.
2. Income for spouse or partner on death
Many DB pensions allow you to choose if your pension will continue to be paid to a spouse or partner in full upon the death of one of the pensioners, or if it will continue at a reduced rate. The choice you make at retirement will influence the amount of pension income you receive for life.
Most DB plans allow you to choose a guarantee period. This is not related to how much time you will receive your pension income for (remember, these plans pay for life), but relates to how long a death benefit would be made available to your beneficiaries upon death of the pensioner(s).
4. Commuted Value (lump sum transfer) is an option
When you leave the plan, either due to retirement or leaving the employer, most plans allow you to take a commuted value (lump sum). This lump sum can be transferred in part without immediate tax penalty to a LIRA (Locked-in Retirement Account), however often there is also a taxable portion to consider. You should always make sure that any immediate tax hit does not erode the assets available to you in such a way that you cannot equal your predicted pension income. This is a complex decision, and assistance from your financial planner will be valuable.
5. You are making contributions
Nearly all Defined Benefit pensions require a contribution from the employee as well as the employer. In fact, most DB pensions have relatively large contribution requirements of their employees in the range of 10 – 11% of your gross salary. You can be assured that the employer contributes at least as much as you do.
6. Limited Reporting
Many DB pension holders receive a statement only once annually. This is different than what you may be used to with your investment reporting. Since your value from a DB pension comes from the income you will be provided with at retirement, there is little need to receive more frequent statements as the ‘value’ is related to your years of service (and other factors), not specifically investment returns.
One of the objectives of estate planning is to review and minimize potential taxes on your remaining assets.
Lets review how some common assets (RRSP/RIFs, TFSAs, Non-Registered Accounts, and Principal Residences) are taxed upon death.
RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) / RIF (Retirement Income Fund)
The accounts can be left to a spouse as a named beneficiary. This transaction will generate a tax slip, but this is not a taxable event. The spouse can receive the proceeds of the RRSP/RIF.
In some circumstances, the RRSP/RIF could also pass to a dependent child without triggering tax.
TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account)
No tax and no reporting is necessary.
If a spouse is named as the successor owner, the full value of the TFSA can become the spouse’s with no tax impact (even if the successor owner spouse may have no TFSA room available).
You can name beneficiaries such as children, and the assets would be provided once appropriate legal requirements are met after death.
Death is a taxable disposition and all assets are deemed disposed on the date of death (meaning they are considered sold). The applicable gain or loss must be considered and tax paid.
No tax is owing on the sale of a principal residence, however it must be noted when filing taxes that the property was deemed disposed.
If you have a question pertaining to your specific financial situation or need some assistance with estate planning, please reach out and our financial advisors would be happy to assist you. You can learn more about the estate planning services we provide here.
We invite you to join us for an upcoming webinar, Protecting Your Estate hosted by Daniel Collison on March 16, 2022 7:00-8:00pm. Register for the webinar here. The registration form enquires who invited you to this event – please fill ‘Blackburn Davis Financial’ in this field. Please feel free to pass this invitation along to any family member or friend you think would find it useful.
If you have any questions or would like further information about this event or speaker, please reach out to us.
In our new video series, we answer common questions from our clients. In this video, Kelley Doerksen, CFP® explains the tax slips generated by different investment accounts and which slips you may expect to receive this upcoming tax season. Learn about the tax planning services we can provide you here.
TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account)
Clients often ask if they’re going to receive any sort of documentation for Tax-Free Savings Accounts. The answer is no, you don’t get any sort of slips or reporting for your TFSA contributions or withdrawals. But it’s important that either yourself or your advisor team is keeping track of those contributions and withdrawals. You can find your TFSA room on your CRA MyAccount to make sure that you’re on track for your contributions and withdrawals not going over; however, be aware that CRA doesn’t report on a regular basis for those contributions, so it’s a good idea to also keep track of these on your own.
RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) and RIF (Retirement Income Fund)
You will receive receipts for these accounts. For an RRSP contribution, you’ll receive a receipt for January 1 to December 31 as well as one for the first 60 days which is that period from January 1 to the end of February in the year following. You can use your RRSP receipts to reduce your taxable income. Watch for these to arrive around mid-March, especially for the first 60 days receipt.
When you withdraw from a RIF or from an RRSP, you will also receive a receipt. This will be a T4, so T4RRSP if you’ve taken from your RRSP or a T4RIF if you’ve withdrawn from your RIF. This is going to be added to your income and you’ll use that receipt to report your income from that registered account.
For more information about TFSA vs. RRSP accounts, refer to our infographic.
For Non-Registered accounts, there is a lot more taxation involved and documentation to be aware of. You might receive a T3, which is a Statement of Trust Income, if you hold mutual funds. You could receive a T5, which is a Statement of Investment Income, which could be earned interest or dividends, etc. You may also receive a T5008, if there’s been a disposition of securities in your Non-Registered account. That slip will provide you the information that you need to file on that disposition, but make sure that you have the Adjusted Cost Base (ACB) on that form as well, otherwise you’re going to need to find out what that ACB is.
Another receipt that some of our clients receive is a Schedule K-1. This is a form for the IRS, so if you file a U.S. tax return, you’re going to need this Schedule K-1. If you’re a Canadian citizen only filing a Canadian tax return, that Schedule K-1 may or may not be important for you, and likely you’re not going to need to use it at all.
Some of these slips don’t come until mid to late March, so you should always wait until you’ve received all of your tax slips before filing your tax return.
If you need some assistance regarding your tax slips or filing your tax return, please feel free to reach out to us and/or your accountant/bookkeeper.
We are honoured to announce this May 2021 marks Blackburn Davis Financial’s 20th Anniversary.
Thank you sincerely to our clients for the support and trust you have placed in us over these many years. It is an honour to provide financial guidance to our clients and we are grateful for the chance to do so every day. We have enjoyed the privilege of sharing many important moments in our clients’ lives and we look forward to the opportunity to continue to do so.
Under normal circumstances, we would have much preferred to celebrate this occasion with our clients by hosting an in-person event. In lieu of this, we have chosen to donate our event budget to charity. We have estimated a budget of $10,000 and have selected six charitable organizations across Canada. These include YESS – Youth Empowerment and Support Services, The United Way of Canada, The Canadian Mental Health Association, Special Olympics Canada, Women’s Shelters Canada, and The Edmonton Food Bank
Thank you once again for your continued support over the years. We look forward to another 20+ years!
John Davis, Stephen MacDonald, and Kelley Doerksen