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Trying to understand a withdrawal plan.
Old 11-29-2010, 03:43 PM   #1
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Trying to understand a withdrawal plan.

My wife and I will both be retired by May. I will be 63 and she will be 65. I am trying to plan how I should access money from our various sources to keep taxes to a minimum as well as avoid paying taxes on Social Security. I understand that we have to keep our income below $14,120/yr for each of us (I think) to keep 100% of our SS. I would appreciate some guidance/suggestions, maybe a good book, or at least a comprehensive chapter dedicated to minimizing taxes during retirement.
Our sources of money will be:
1. Social Security
2. Small pensions from military and civilian jobs
3. Stocks dividends only (If possible)
4. Taxable Mutual Funds dividends only again
5. Savings accounts, CDs, MM accounts, etc. interest only
6. Roth IRA accounts
7. Cash in the bucket
8. Traditional IRA accounts

If the money from SS is free and clear as long as we dont have a combined income of over $28,240 then is the only taxable income (for computing tax on SS money) from a paycheck from a job and cashing in some of the traditional IRA shares? I know items #2-6 are taxable income but are they considered as income for reducing our SS paycheck?

After budgeting the money from items #1 & 2 I was thinking of taking the dividends and interest from items #3 5 and making up the difference in what we will need from the traditional IRA accounts (not to exceed $28,240. If more was necessary for living expenses I would then use some cash from the bucket or Roth IRA.

If this is correct then our taxes would only be computed on the $28,240 and we keep 100% of our SS money. After we reach 66 then we keep 100% of our SS regardless of earnings.

Did I get this right? Am I missing something?

Cheers!
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:48 PM   #2
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Check out the Optimal Retirement Planner Calculator (ORP) website. They have a tax-optimal spend-optimal retirement withdrawal method given a fixed rate of return:

Optimal Retirement Calculator and Retirement Decision Support System
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:15 PM   #3
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Even tax-exempt interest is included in the calculation on whether your SS benefits will be taxed or not. Did you miss that?
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:41 PM   #4
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Read this thread too
Tax consideration for taxable, IRA & SS revenue streams

Edited to add
See this too
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p915...blink100097869
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:45 PM   #5
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This was discussed on the Forum recently and is a very good read explaining the complex rules calculating how much of your SS will be taxed, and it includes a worked example. You can register for free on the site and get the guide as a free pdf download.

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Old 11-30-2010, 06:16 AM   #6
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Thank you for the resources. It looks like I have a little reading/studying to do with all the links. This is the type of information I have been looking for but wasn't sure what would be reliable from just doing a google search.
We have done alright saving on our teacher salaries. That was the easy part when you have frugal parents to teach you and when you marry an understanding wife.
However, I have made some bad decisions with a few past investments and with my pension. That will cost us a more comfortable retirement so I want to avoid any more mistakes with what we have to live on.
LOL!, I was surprised that interest from an IRA is used in the formula to determine if SS is taxed. I thought that it was only used when it is withdrawn.
Lots more to learn. It's starting to feel like a new job.

Cheers!
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:55 AM   #7
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...
LOL!, I was surprised that interest from an IRA is used in the formula to determine if SS is taxed. I thought that it was only used when it is withdrawn.
Lots more to learn. It's starting to feel like a new job.

Cheers!
Sorry, by "tax-exempt interest" I meant tax-exempt muni-bond interest, not interest from an IRA.

Your retirement and money management is a full-time job.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:51 AM   #8
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Taxes is another area where limiting yourself to dividends only will cost you. The long term capital gains rate will remain lower than the corresponding rates for dividends (subject to change of course). Additionally spending your cost basis for shares sold costs you nothing in taxes. It sure does add a layer of complexity though.

DD
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:39 PM   #9
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Taxes is another area where limiting yourself to dividends only will cost you. The long term capital gains rate will remain lower than the corresponding rates for dividends (subject to change of course). Additionally spending your cost basis for shares sold costs you nothing in taxes. It sure does add a layer of complexity though.

DD
I agree on taxable accounts.

Once you start drawing down your 401k and IRA's I can't see that it matters. If I have a load of money in an IRA with a cost basis of zero (such as after I've rolled a 401k), then having the dividends paid into a taxable cash account will be taxed the same as selling shares within the IRA and transferring the proceeds. The same would be true of a Roth - no taxes on withdrawals whether it be dividends or capital gains.

Am I right in this? (I have about 4 years to figure this stuff out before I'm eligible)
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Old 11-30-2010, 04:35 PM   #10
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Sorry, by "tax-exempt interest" I meant tax-exempt muni-bond interest, not interest from an IRA.

Your retirement and money management is a full-time job.
Thanks for the clarification. I'm still trying to learn the language of personal finance. So far I have figured out "money in my pocket is mine (temporarily) until it becomes money out of my pocket because the government felt they could manage it better."

Cheers!
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:35 PM   #11
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I agree on taxable accounts.

Once you start drawing down your 401k and IRA's I can't see that it matters. If I have a load of money in an IRA with a cost basis of zero (such as after I've rolled a 401k), then having the dividends paid into a taxable cash account will be taxed the same as selling shares within the IRA and transferring the proceeds. The same would be true of a Roth - no taxes on withdrawals whether it be dividends or capital gains.

Am I right in this? (I have about 4 years to figure this stuff out before I'm eligible)
Just to confirm what I think you mean by:

The same would be true of a Roth - no taxes on withdrawals whether it be dividends or capital gains It is true that all withdrawals from a Roth are (currently) free of income tax, there is no distinction between original funds, or earnings/gains.

It is also true that selling shares in a Traditional IRA is a taxable event, however, only as long as the T-IRA is composed of deductible contributions and earnings (or rollovers from an 401-k). T-IRAs with non-deductible contributions get taxed on the proportion of taxable monies when compared to the value of the account at year-end. Someone who contributed $2,000 to an T-IRA with a current value of $100,000 and who withdrew $10,000, would pay tax on 98% of the $10,000 (2% being the value of already taxed contributions).

However, your example of cash dividends is where there is a wrinkle. Cash dividends are treated differently than transferring assets from a deductible IRA to a taxable account. In the first case, the dividend tax rate is usually lower than the tax in your regular tax bracket. In the second case (the T-IRA sales) are treated at the same rate as income.

It's a bit to keep control of, as another poster said: a full-time job!

-- Rita
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:09 PM   #12
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However, your example of cash dividends is where there is a wrinkle. Cash dividends are treated differently than transferring assets from a deductible IRA to a taxable account. In the first case, the dividend tax rate is usually lower than the tax in your regular tax bracket. In the second case (the T-IRA sales) are treated at the same rate as income.

It's a bit to keep control of, as another poster said: a full-time job!

-- Rita
I still don't get it and am probably not understanding your post. (sorry to labor the issue)

I have a T-IRA, zero cost basis since it was rolled over from a 401k (all contributions to it have been before tax for its 20 year life).

Suppose it is invested in a Wellesley fund and the quarterly dividends and annual capital gains go into a VG MM fund within the IRA and are then withdrawn as a distribution each quarter. Will it be taxed as regular income? - no consideration if the dividends are qualified or if the capital gains are long or short term.

Similarly if the contents are invested in a VG total stock mkt fund and once a quarter I sell some shares into a VG MM fund within the IRA and then withdraw the proceeds as a distribution each quarter. Will it be taxed as regular income? - no consideration if the capital gains are long or short term.

I would think that since the money that initially went into the 401k was before income taxes, then all the money that comes out of the IRA are taxed at the marginal income tax rate of the owner regardless of how much of it was the result of capital gains etc.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:09 PM   #13
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It is also true that selling shares in a Traditional IRA is a taxable event, ...
Not if you don't withdraw the sale proceeds from the tIRA. (I know, details, details.)

The other complication is that you have various tax brackets. There is even a 0% tax bracket that you want to use. The i-orp.com calculator can help, but you should be very familiar with doing your own taxes in order to confirm or adjust what it suggests.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:54 AM   #14
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the dividend tax rate is usually lower than the tax in your regular tax bracket.
... -- Rita
In the same boat with Alan on this one. My understanding is that distributions from a deductible IRA are taxed as ordinary income.

You are talking about federal income taxes, not a particular state income tax, right?
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:48 AM   #15
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Reread Rita's post and pay particular attention to the following:

"T-IRAs with non-deductible contributions get taxed on the proportion of taxable monies when compared to the value of the account at year-end. Someone who contributed $2,000 to an T-IRA with a current value of $100,000 and who withdrew $10,000, would pay tax on 98% of the $10,000 (2% being the value of already taxed contributions)."

If everything in your T-IRA was "pre-tax" contributions, then all distributions will be taxed as ordinary income. At least, that's how I read the tax laws.
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:34 PM   #16
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Add me to the Alan and Rustward category of "not sure I read that right".

Keeping it simple, assume all the money in a T-IRA was contributed pre-tax.

My understanding was that all money taken from the T-IRA, irrespective of it's heritage, is taxed at the taxpayer's normal income tax rate.

Is my understanding of it correct? Would appreciate any help.

EDIT: Add EXAMPLE

Say my entire IRA was Wellesley, and was put there originally as pre-taxed contributions. Then I have Vanguard deposit the dividends from the IRA to my taxable portfolio and into a VG MM.

Is that taxed as dividend tax rate, or taxed as normal income rate?
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:43 PM   #17
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Add me to the Alan and Rustward category of "not sure I read that right".

Keeping it simple, assume all the money in a T-IRA was contributed pre-tax.

My understanding was that all money taken from the T-IRA, irrespective of it's heritage, is taxed at the taxpayer's normal income tax rate.

Is my understanding of it correct? Would appreciate any help.
Yes, it is as simple as that ...

I'm retired and take all distributions/dividends from my TIRA accounts and add them to my "cash bucket" - a MM account held within my tax-deferred account (you can't transfer it to taxable without paying current income tax due).

Once a month, I transfer from my tax-deferred bucket, pay the current income tax due, and forward it to my respective taxable accounts - used for current expenses.

Pay me now - pay me later; the government will get its "pound of flesh" ...
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:52 PM   #18
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rescueme, thanks, I thought that was clear to be but in the discussions I got a little confused.

PS: I won't hijack the thread any more just saw some others wanting the same confirmation.
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:16 PM   #19
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rescueme, thanks, I thought that was clear to be but in the discussions I got a little confused.
My thanks also to rescueme for a real life example.
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:40 PM   #20
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A little more information:

Roth IRA Advisor
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