It is required to close a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) by the end of the year you turn 71. It is not required to convert your RRSP to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), however this is one option when closing an RRSP.
There are some benefits to converting an RRSP to a RRIF. You can continue to hold the same investments as you currently do, and your investments will continue to grow tax-free, until you withdraw them. Other options when closing your RRSP include setting up an annuity, or taking your RRSP in cash (with the full amount taxable). You may also consider a combination of the three options.
We are not able to provide advice. Speak to a financial advisor to understand your options when you are closing your RRSP. Learn more about getting retirement income from an RRSP on GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.