Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Life Income Fund (LIF)


A Life Income Fund (LIF) is a type of retirement income plan under Canadian tax law that individuals can utilize after they convert their Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA), or their company pension plan. It provides retirees with a regular income stream, while keeping the balance of the portfolio invested. However, there is a maximum amount that can be withdrawn each year to ensure the fund lasts throughout retirement.


Life Income Fund is pronounced as /laɪf ˈɪnkʌm fʌnd/ – “lyf in-kuhm fund”. The abbreviation LIF is pronounced as /ɛl aɪ ɛf/ – “el eye ef”.

Key Takeaways

Sure, here you go:

  1. A Life Income Fund (LIF) is a type of retirement income plan using locked-in pension funds. It gives you regular retirement income, but is also subject to annual minimum and maximum withdrawal limits. These limits are calculated according to a formula based on the age of the LIF owner and the value of the fund, and mean that unlike a regular RRIF there is a limit on how much you can withdraw each year.

  2. Most LIF owners will use the fund to provide a steady flow of payments between the date of retirement and the end of life. The income provided from these funds is typically predictable and reliable, similar to a standard pension plan. This makes it a popular option for many retirees.

  3. Though LIF is a common retirement plan, it does come with some risks and downsides. A significant risk is market volatility. As with any investment portfolio, the LIF can increase or decrease in value based on the performance of the investments. Moreover, the withdrawal limits can also be a disadvantage. The restrictions on these regular payments may not align with your financial needs or lifestyle expenses at the time.


A Life Income Fund (LIF) is important in the business/finance context as it’s a type of registered income retirement plan in Canada that allows individuals to control and manage the investment of the locked-in funds transferred from their pension plans. The significance of a LIF comes from its role in offering a predictable source of income during retirement while the remaining funds continue to earn investment income. Therefore, it provides retirees with opportunities to gain continual income while also having the potential to increase the total value of their funds through thoughtful investment. This can lead to a more financially secure retirement, enhancing retirees’ quality of life.


The primary purpose of a Life Income Fund (LIF) is to provide a regular stream of income for individuals, typically during retirement. LIFs are often utilized by those who want to convert their accumulated retirement savings, namely from a Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA) or a registered pension plan, into continuous income without purchasing an annuity from an insurance company. It offers favorable tax treatment, as income taxes are only imposed when the funds are withdrawn, and provides flexibility with the ability to control the funds’ investments.One of the main features of a LIF is its requirement for a minimum and maximum withdrawal amount each year, providing a secure yet flexible solution for retirees. The minimum amount is there to ensure that the annuitant receives some income every year, while the maximum cap is set to prevent the depletion of the fund too early. It’s crucial to carefully plan these withdrawals to strike a sustainable balance between optimal income and long-lasting funds. Hence, LIFs are an essential tool in managing retirement income and financial planning.


1. Company-Sponsored Retirement Plans: A real-world example of a Life Income Fund (LIF) could be a company-sponsored retirement plan. For instance, employees of IBM Canada who contribute to their pension plan throughout their tenure may receive their retirement money through a LIF. The IBM pension plan may be converted into a LIF when the employee retires, offering a steady income stream for the rest of their life. The funds within the LIF would be invested in a variety of financial products to ensure continuous growth.2. Self-Directed LIF: Another example can be seen with individuals who have a self-directed LIF. For instance, an individual living in Ontario, Canada, who had previously contributed to a Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA), upon retiring may convert the LIRA into a LIF. This person could then manage the fund’s investments according to their preferred level of risk and expected return. The LIF would then provide regular income payments throughout their retirement.3. Personal Retirement Planning: A third real-world example of a LIF is a person who has accumulated a considerable Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Upon retirement, this individual could convert their RRSP into a LIF to ensure that they receive regular payouts for the rest of their life. The financial institution managing their LIF would be responsible for making these regular payments and ensuring that the fund remains viable for the duration of the individual’s retirement.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Life Income Fund (LIF)?

A Life Income Fund (LIF) is a type of registered income fund in Canada that can provide income from a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) or a locked-in account, while maintaining the investment’s tax-deferred status.

How does a LIF work?

A LIF is designed to provide retired individuals with regular income while preserving pension funds for as long as possible. The government sets both a minimum and maximum amount that you can withdraw each year, thus allowing the remaining funds to continue growing tax-deferred.

Can the funds in a LIF be withdrawn anytime?

While a LIF is designed to provide income throughout retirement, there’s a minimum and maximum amount that one can withdraw annually. This ensures the fund doesn’t run out too early, providing income for life. However, the exact amount can fluctuate based on the fund’s performance and changes in government regulations.

What are the differences between a LIF and an RRIF?

The main difference between a LIF and an RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund) is that LIF has both a minimum and maximum withdrawal limit each year as regulated by the government. The RRIF only has a minimum required withdrawal limit.

What happens to a LIF upon the holder’s death?

Upon the death of a LIF holder, any remaining funds will generally be transferred to the holder’s spouse or common-law partner. If there is none, the remaining balance would be paid to the holder’s estate unless a beneficiary has been previously designated.

Is LIF right for everyone?

The decision to go with a LIF will depend on individual needs, retirement goals, and financial circumstances. One must consider their expected life span, anticipated expenses, investment risk tolerance, and available pension funds. It is recommended to consult with a financial advisor to know if a LIF is suitable for your specific situation.

What are the taxes applied to the LIF withdrawals?

Any income you withdraw from a LIF is considered taxable income. Therefore, it is subject to federal and provincial income tax regulations. The amount of tax will depend on your overall income and the tax laws of your state or province.

Related Finance Terms

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More