Choose your pension option
This important decision will determine the amount of your lifetime monthly pension payments and the amount your spouse or beneficiaries may receive when you die.
Single life pension options
You can choose a single life pension option if you are single or your spouse has given up their rights to your pension.
With a single life pension, you can choose a lifetime monthly pension payment with:
- No guarantee period
- A guarantee period of 5, 10 or 15 years
If you choose a guarantee period and die before the end of the period, your beneficiary(ies) will receive a monthly income for the remainder of the guarantee period only.
For example, if you choose a single life pension guaranteed for 10 years and die before 120 payments have been made to you (the end of the 10-year guarantee period), what's left of your pension will be paid to your beneficiary(ies).
If you live beyond the guarantee period (of 120 payments in this example), you will continue to receive your monthly pension for the rest of your life. However, when you die, no pension will be paid to your beneficiary(ies).
Beneficiary options with a single life pension
When you choose a single life pension, you can name any individual, organization or your estate as your beneficiary(ies).
If you have a spouse, you can only choose a single life pension if your spouse signs a waiver to give up their rights to a 60 per cent joint life option. To name a beneficiary other than your spouse for a guarantee period, your spouse must also give up their beneficiary rights.
Why choose a single life pension with no guarantee period?
With this option, you receive a slightly larger monthly pension payment because your pension payment is not guaranteed for a specific period. You will receive the basic lifetime pension amount until you die, with no continuing pension paid to your spouse, beneficiary(ies) or estate. This is the largest amount of pension available because it does not provide income or protection to anyone other than you.
You might choose this option if you:
- Are single with no beneficiary(ies)
- Have a spouse who is financially secure
- Are significantly younger than your spouse and you believe your spouse will die before you (and there is not a need for your pension to continue after your death)
Important things to keep in mind
- No pension income will be paid to your spouse or beneficiary(ies) after your death
- If you have a spouse, you can only choose this option if your spouse gives up their beneficiary rights to your pension
- Your spouse or beneficiary(ies) will not be able to access group health benefits after your death
Why choose a single life pension with a guarantee?
If you die within the guarantee period, your beneficiary will receive a time-limited income. This option often appeals to single members with dependants. The following examples show how the single life option works:
- You have an 11-year-old child when you retire and select a 15-year guarantee. If you die within the 15-year guarantee period and your child (or a trustee or trust set up for your child when they are under 19) is named your beneficiary, your child will receive a monthly income until they are 26.
- Your spouse (assuming they have given up their rights to a joint life pension) has RRSPs but wants to defer cashing them in until age 71. You can support your spouse until they can access the RRSP income by selecting a 5-, 10- or 15-year guarantee period, depending on their age.
- Your family history suggests that you will have a shorter life expectancy; choosing a guarantee period may allow you to leave a benefit to your estate.
Important things to keep in mind
- If you outlive the guarantee period, your spouse or beneficiaries will not receive any of your pension
- If you have a spouse, you can only choose a single life pension if your spouse gives up their rights to your pension