Retirement Mistake No.25: Not Taking Back Your OAS Claw
Posted In: Retirement Planning for Entrepreneurs

You work your whole life and retire at 65. Then, because you worked so hard, the Government keeps the pension that you were promised. It hardly seems fair. So, how can you stop this? The answer is the Old Age Security (OAS) program.

Old Age Security (OAS)

It may take a little planning. The Old Age Security (OAS) program includes a basic pension, indexed for inflation every January, April, July, and October. The claw-back occurs if your net individual income is above a set threshold (currently $66,335). This figure changes each year because of inflation. For every dollar of  income above the threshold, the amount of basic OAS pension reduces by 15 cents. Therefore, it is clear from my conversations with retirees that many are concerned about this. Here are some simple strategies to help you minimize the claw-back.

  1. Defer RRSP income. Eventually, you need to convert RRSPs to income. In fact, the latest you can defer a RRSP is December 31 of the year in which you turn 71 and then take the minimum withdrawal each year to minimize your net income.
  1. If you have a younger spouse, use his or her age for RRIF planning to calculate the minimum RRIF income. Therefore, it will lower your income.
  1. Tax-efficient income on non-registered RRSP investments. When it comes to investment income from non-registered investments, different types of income are different with regard to taxes. Interest income from GICs and term deposits have a high tax rate. Dividend income and capital gains enjoy a much lower tax rate.
  1. Use part of your non-registered funds to purchase an annuity to provide an income stream. From a tax perspective, only a portion of each payment is taxable because a portion of each payment is a return of capital and is, therefore, tax-free.
  1. If you are able to split your income with your spouse, you may be able to reduce your net income. Some examples include CPP splitting, investment income, and payments from corporations.
  1. Final RRSP contribution. Up until and including age 71, if you have unused RRSP deduction room, make a final RRSP contribution.
  1. Finally, for couples, the new pension-splitting rules can help reduce or eliminate the claw-back. Some couples who are not married may consider the advantages of  filing together if they have been living together for awhile.

Check to see whether a portion of your OAS is being clawed back and plan to take it back for yourself.

In Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters–one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity. -John F. Kennedy 

The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas and enthusiasm. – Thomas J. Watson, Sr.


Published with permission from Grant Hicks