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Old 10-31-2009, 06:36 AM   #21
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JDW

I think your example is very unrealistic, I can say in my 10 years of being retired with taxable assets roughly twice the level you talked about I never got close to 40K taxes even as single guy with minimal deductions. Most investment/pension/social security income is taxed at favorable rates, I think LOL 5-7% rates is much closer to what I have experienced and is huge drop from when I was working.
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:19 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
let's say your portfolio produces $40K a year in passive income (4% yield). Let's also assume that half that income is qualified dividends and half is ordinary dividends. HR Block says you would owe $0 in federal income taxes even if you are single.
I'd like to know how HR block figure that out...this is why you don't
go to H&R Block...the tax would actually be around $1180.

Try another tax tool (TurboTax has a online tax estimator or download TaxAct).
TJ
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:51 AM   #23
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jdw_fire, many folks here have more than a million dollars in liquid taxable assets. They don't pay taxes at the average rates that you suggest because they have some understanding of the tax laws.

I could pull all the money out of my taxable portfolio on Monday and owe no income taxes. You may be amazed by that, but you shouldn't be. It's all about how you set your portfolio up to be tax efficient. Put your tax-inefficient assets in your tax-sheltered accounts and use tax-efficient investments in your taxable account. Just because they are tax-efficient, does not mean you are not getting the portfolio return that you expect for such an asset allocation. You are, however, not paying the taxes that someone who doesn't understand asset location would be.

I'd rather have $160K in gains that I paid $0 in taxes on than $160K in gains that I paid $40K in taxes on. Once again, turbo-tax can help you understand all this.
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:14 AM   #24
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you are kidding right? you would pass up $160K in income that is all taxable for a $40k income that isnt? you havent thought this thru

and based on Tax Brackets (Federal Income Tax Rates) 2000 through 2009
you wud still owe taxes (only about $1k)

but the real point is you would give up an over $80k increase in after tax income to have an income that wasnt taxed i wudnt
JDW has hit the nail on the head (at least in my situation). Depending on the types of gain the tax man is going to cometh no matter what. Yes you can minimize them as LOL says using tax loss harvesting, capital loss carryovers, etc. but that is not always available or still doesn't necessarily offset the entire gain 100%.

In the end I would rather pay the taxes and have the higher growth of the portfolio than be a slave to a SWR.
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:19 PM   #25
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JDW

I think your example is very unrealistic, I can say in my 10 years of being retired with taxable assets roughly twice the level you talked about I never got close to 40K taxes even as single guy with minimal deductions. Most investment/pension/social security income is taxed at favorable rates, I think LOL 5-7% rates is much closer to what I have experienced and is huge drop from when I was working.
and just what were your AGI and deductions? if you dont make that kind of income then you wont be paying that kind of taxes. i am not saying it is common for retired people on this board to pay that kind of taxes but then they arent making that kind of money either (and of course it makes a difference how you get that income, whether it is tax favored (like LTCG and dividends) or not favored (like interest or STCG)). just becauase you arent making that kind of income doesnt mean someone else isnt. remember the high interest rates of the early '80s? if someone investing a million back then was concerned about investing in the stock market so s/he invested in bonds (and other loan type instruments) s/he could have been pulling down 16% interest on the million and thus been paying that amount in taxes (especially since tax rates were higher). and just because you dont get that kind of a taxable return on your money now doesnt mean nobody does.

yes i picked an extreme example (16% taxable income) to make my point but that doesnt mean it is invalid, instead it just shows off my point. what if you were getting 12% instead of 16%? using the standard 4% rule and paying taxes out of it would still only leave you with ~$15,500 after fed income taxes for your yearly living expenses when actually you netted over $100k in income after said taxes (and i didnt even say anything about state income taxes). or what if in the future tax rates go up, then you wouldnt even have to make a 12% taxable yield. or if again in the future LTCG are taxed at the same rate as all other income, then just selling some property could do the trick.

but even if you dont have that kind of taxable income, look at the point i am making. all i am saying is that sometimes (under some circumstances) paying your income taxes out of your "SWD" doesnt really make sense. and those times are when you have a very high taxable income (or if tax rates go up). so then now comes the question, if that is true, at what level of taxable income does it start making sense to pay your income taxes out of the "SWD"? at very low levels of taxable income (my examples here are any of the posters here who have proudly posted that they pay $0 in fed income taxes) it doesnt matter since the taxes are so low or nonexistant. so it must be those "middle" incomers. but by doing such the need to minimize taxes kind of dictates to them how they will invest (eg. for LTCGs instead of income) and that is all well and good if that is how you want to invest in the first place but maybe it is more appropriate to invest for total, after tax return, even if it produces a large taxable income. sooo maybe it is more appropriate for you to treat your portfolio as a machine that provides you with an after tax amount of money (meaning that the taxes are paid from inside the machine) and in operating that machine you try to maximize your after tax return on the assets in said machine. and then, to make you feel more comfortable about your retirement assets lasting your lifetime you can always lower your after tax "SWR" that you take out of your machine.
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:30 PM   #26
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if you pay the taxes with non ira money and you get the same invest returns whether you kept the TIRA or convert to a roth and your future tax rate is >= your current tax rate you will come out ahead doing the conversion, period.
I mis-wrote when I said that your base in the ROTH-IRA would be lower. I agree that you should pay your T-IRA to ROTH taxes from taxable moneys.

However, your total portfolio will still be lower by the amount of taxes paid, and I stick to my statement that it is not CERTAIN that you will come out ahead.
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:46 PM   #27
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If you have some large moving of things around in your investments for retirement and there are severe taxable consequences, then IMO it's best to recalculate your SWR after taxes are withheld for all that investment rejiggering. Or use the after-tax value of that major asset you expect to sell in your SWR calcs if you expect a once-off type sale.

For us with mostly taxable investments, on average (it varies year-to-year and sometimes widely) 0.5% of the portfolio goes to taxes. So I know off the bat that 3.5% is the most I can expect for after tax income from our portfolio.

But IMO I am on the high side. Many folks have reported much lower percents. About half our income is taxed at the LTG rate, and we are rarely above the 15% tax bracket for non-LTG income, yet we're often subject to AMT and sometimes our portfolio throws off a lot of income/distributions.

No, I don't have interest income generated at 16% of the portfolio, and I'm not sure I ever expect to see that. But if it happens, I'd just have to deal with a lower after-tax money available for living expenses. Under those circumstances (very high inflation), it could be disastrous to draw even more from the portfolio to cover the taxes, ignoring the fact that I'm really using a higher SWR due to taxes.

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Old 10-31-2009, 01:08 PM   #28
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i am not the novice to taxes you imply.

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jdw_fire, many folks here have more than a million dollars in liquid taxable assets. They don't pay taxes at the average rates that you suggest because they have some understanding of the tax laws.
because, as i said in a recent post, they (are maybe forced to) plan their investments that way. and it seems you are saying that they would rather pass on an investment that throws off a 16% taxable income (if their ira is full) for a stock that flucuates in value because you dont have to pay taxes on the stock till you sell it. my father once told me (he was a CPA) dont worry so much about paying taxes, it means you made some money and if you pay alot in taxes you made alot of money. (i hope i quoted him right, it was a long time ago). and dont get me wrong, i am not against tax planning or trying to reduce the taxes that you have to pay (i do it myself) but i dont think that it should be so important to you that you would pass on a very hi yield just because you would have to pay taxes on it.

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I could pull all the money out of my taxable portfolio on Monday and owe no income taxes. You may be amazed by that, but you shouldn't be. It's all about how you set your portfolio up to be tax efficient. Put your tax-inefficient assets in your tax-sheltered accounts and use tax-efficient investments in your taxable account. Just because they are tax-efficient, does not mean you are not getting the portfolio return that you expect for such an asset allocation. You are, however, not paying the taxes that someone who doesn't understand asset location would be.
of course you can pull as much already taxed money out of your account to spend and not be taxed on it again. pulling money out of an account (unless it is a tax favored account like a TIRA, 401k, etc) is not a taxable event, but making some type of income is, even if you dont pull that money out of the account. this just proves that you are not reading what i wrote. i said your portfolio produces a 16% taxable gain, you know like interest. the only way you can get around paying the tax due on interest paid to you in any given year is to have that interest paid to you inside a tax deferred/free vehicle like an ira. but if you own the "note" (or what ever the instrument) outside such an account then you will be paying the appropriate taxes on it.

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I'd rather have $160K in gains that I paid $0 in taxes on than $160K in gains that I paid $40K in taxes on. Once again, turbo-tax can help you understand all this.
and finally of course you would but that isnt the choice i gave you. you know it appears you really dont want to open up your mind to a thought that isnt yours. as i said before, i am no novice to taxes, but i fear that your prejudice of me will not allow you to see my point, and that is your choice and loss. but there are some people on this forum who dont like stocks and will be investing in interest producing vehicles and this will have the potential of producing large taxable income. and again i repeat, what is wrong with that as long as the after tax return is high? but it can present a problem if you take the taxes out of your "SWD".
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Old 10-31-2009, 01:11 PM   #29
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I mis-wrote when I said that your base in the ROTH-IRA would be lower. I agree that you should pay your T-IRA to ROTH taxes from taxable moneys.

However, your total portfolio will still be lower by the amount of taxes paid, and I stick to my statement that it is not CERTAIN that you will come out ahead.
do the math (without violating my assumptions) and you will see it is CERTAIN you will come out ahead. you know you only have to find 1 example where i am wrong to disprove what i said, do you have that example?
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Old 10-31-2009, 01:33 PM   #30
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If you have some large moving of things around in your investments for retirement and there are severe taxable consequences, then IMO it's best to recalculate your SWR after taxes are withheld for all that investment rejiggering. Or use the after-tax value of that major asset you expect to sell in your SWR calcs if you expect a once-off type sale.
Audrey
thank you, it looks like you understood my point.

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For us with mostly taxable investments, on average (it varies year-to-year and sometimes widely) 0.5% of the portfolio goes to taxes. So I know off the bat that 3.5% is the most I can expect for after tax income from our portfolio.

But IMO I am on the high side. Many folks have reported much lower percents. About half our income is taxed at the LTG rate, and we are rarely above the 15% tax bracket for non-LTG income, yet we're often subject to AMT and sometimes our portfolio throws off a lot of income/distributions.
how do you know? it seems to me that there has been some bragging on this forum about how little people pay in taxes (some occured on this thread) so i wouldnt be surprised if the people in higher income tax bracket just havnt bothered to say so.

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No, I don't have interest income generated at 16% of the portfolio, and I'm not sure I ever expect to see that. But if it happens, I'd just have to deal with a lower after-tax money available for living expenses. Under those circumstances (very high inflation), it could be disastrous to draw even more from the portfolio to cover the taxes, ignoring the fact that I'm really using a higher SWR due to taxes.
if you look back at the 1980s the high inflation was killed off by the raising of interest rates. when i looked it up it appears that the 30 yr treasury exceeded 15%. Safe Haven | 80 Year History: Dividend Yield vs Interest Rates soo if you bought alot of that treasury back when you could have you would have locked in a 15% taxable (unless you bought it in an ira like account) yield for 30 years which lasted way past when inflation had subsided. now the taxes on that would be a big hit on your "SWD" if that is where you got the money to pay said taxes. but i am saying i dont think that is the appropriate way to do it.
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Old 10-31-2009, 01:36 PM   #31
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Regardless of how you work the taxes and spending, the SWR includes everything that comes out of your portfolio, including anything withdrawn to pay for taxes. That's the simplest way to think of it.
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Old 10-31-2009, 02:46 PM   #32
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If I could find an investment that would pay me 16% in interest today, I would put it in my tax-sheltered space even if that space was full. I would bump out some of my fixed income funds that pay only 4%. I invest for total after-tax return.

I do realize that some folks have little in the way of tax-sheltered space. Maybe they didn't contribute to a retirement plan and received an inheritance, sold a business, or won the lottery. They would have to do some things differently than I would do.

And I would not mind paying a million dollars in taxes, since it would mean that I made much, much more than that in income.
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Old 10-31-2009, 03:36 PM   #33
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how do you know? it seems to me that there has been some bragging on this forum about how little people pay in taxes (some occured on this thread) so i wouldnt be surprised if the people in higher income tax bracket just havnt bothered to say so.
I've been responded to with several counter examples that led me to conclude that most retirees on this forum (not people drawing a salary - they are easily in a higher tax bracket) were seeing lower taxes than I was.

Plus we've had several poll on the forum looking at the distribution of annual income and the distribution of net worth. Based on that as well I'm likely in the "higher taxes than most" camp.

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Old 10-31-2009, 03:42 PM   #34
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do the math (without violating my assumptions) and you will see it is CERTAIN you will come out ahead. you know you only have to find 1 example where i am wrong to disprove what i said, do you have that example?
JDW_Fire,
As long as the future tax rate is higher than the current one - even by 1%, you are right. It doesn't work if the rate is lower in the future - even by 1%.

Note: To figure out the after tax value of the T-IRA, I assumed you take the whole amount out at once. ie. I didn't pay any attention to IRS rates & slabs etc.

Thanks for pointing it out. Makes me feel even better about my decision to move some of my T-IRA money out to a ROTH.
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Old 10-31-2009, 03:49 PM   #35
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if you look back at the 1980s the high inflation was killed off by the raising of interest rates. when i looked it up it appears that the 30 yr treasury exceeded 15%. Safe Haven | 80 Year History: Dividend Yield vs Interest Rates soo if you bought alot of that treasury back when you could have you would have locked in a 15% taxable (unless you bought it in an ira like account) yield for 30 years which lasted way past when inflation had subsided. now the taxes on that would be a big hit on your "SWD" if that is where you got the money to pay said taxes. but i am saying i dont think that is the appropriate way to do it.
Wouldn't the yield today be more or less the same as any treasury bond that has the same time left? The value of your bond will have gone up, and that should be included in your portfolio value.

Am I right?

In any case, it is irrelevant to the point you're trying to make. ie. how do you deal with a portfolio that generates 16% in interest that is taxable. I haven't read any SWR studies that take this scenario into account since most do not deal with taxes at all.
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Old 10-31-2009, 04:19 PM   #36
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Thanks for pointing it out. Makes me feel even better about my decision to move some of my T-IRA money out to a ROTH.
you are welcome

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Note: To figure out the after tax value of the T-IRA, I assumed you take the whole amount out at once. ie. I didn't pay any attention to IRS rates & slabs etc.
well actually i just applied the tax rate at the time when the 100% return was obtained. granted you would only have to pay said tax if you withdrew it at that time.

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As long as the future tax rate is higher than the current one - even by 1%, you are right. It doesn't work if the rate is lower in the future - even by 1%.
lets see, using the same assumptions as before except the current tax rate is 25% and the future tax rate is 24%

converting a $20k TIRA to a roth will cost the same $5k in taxes from somewhere else in the portfolio and after the 100% return you have $40k after tax.

not converting said TIRS means the TIRA grows to $40k pre tax and the $5k grows to $10k pretax. now at the 24% tax rate the TIRA becomes $30,400 and the $10k becomes $8,800 totaling $39,200 after tax.

thus your asertion is incorrect. there are even cases where when the future tax rate is 1% less than the current tax rate it still pays to convert
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Old 10-31-2009, 04:53 PM   #37
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Wouldn't the yield today be more or less the same as any treasury bond that has the same time left? The value of your bond will have gone up, and that should be included in your portfolio value.

Am I right?
well i guess that depends on how you keep track of things. when i loan money (eg. buy a bond or write a note) i tend to use the amount loaned as the value of said loan. you really only need a market value of the loan if you are trying to sell the loan. in the case of a 30 yr treasury with a coupon of >15% i would probably not be looking to sell it so i would likely value it at face. if i valued it at market then the closer it got to maturity (for any given market interest rate that is less than the coupon rate) it would lose value so i would have to be revaluing it on a periodic basis and what would be the point of that since when it matures i would get the face value. to me it is much easier to just value it at face


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In any case, it is irrelevant to the point you're trying to make. ie. how do you deal with a portfolio that generates 16% in interest that is taxable. I haven't read any SWR studies that take this scenario into account since most do not deal with taxes at all.

true and i think it makes more sense to do the income taxes inside the "machine" and leave the "SWD" for the retiree's other expenses. if you dont then there is the potential for your "SWD" to have to vary wildly based on what you are investing in, when you are doing said investing and the maturity & yields of the investments
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Old 10-31-2009, 04:56 PM   #38
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You may be pleasantly surprised that your tax rate may be 0% because (a) return of capital in a taxable account is tax-free, (b) you have a capital loss carryover from previous years (tax-loss harvesting), (c) you have a net capital loss this year (tax-loss harvesting),
So you are saying that if you have no income or negative income, you will pay no tax. No doubt.

The trouble is that this is clearly losing strategy over time.

Ha
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:10 PM   #39
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I'm amused by all the examples of 20% to 25% of income paid in taxes. I never paid that much when AGI was around $200K or so. Now in semi-retirement, tax rate will be about 5 to 7% of income.

So to address the topic: Yes, you include taxes you pay in your expenses and it comes out of your sustained withdrawal rate of 3% to 4%. To figure out your tax rate, use a copy of TurboTax and plug in your numbers. You may be pleasantly surprised that your tax rate may be 0% because (a) return of capital in a taxable account is tax-free, (b) you have a capital loss carryover from previous years (tax-loss harvesting), (c) you have a net capital loss this year (tax-loss harvesting), (d) qualified dividends are taxed at preferable rate as low as 0%, and (e) etc.

So run your numbers. if your tax rate is low enough, consider converting some traditional or rollover IRA money to a Roth IRA.
LOL! Can you provide more details? What is a single person to do with say a 100k income (half of your 200k example!) and a sizable portfolio that is in taxable accounts? Perhaps I am not understanding yout tax-reduction strategies but would love to learn:
(a) return of capital - where do you get this? I understand investing in PTP/MLPs BUT you do get taxes once your basis goes to 0 AND when you sell these.
(b) tax-loss harvesting - I understand this one IF you have enough losses but it's limited to 3k against your other income in best case. Also, what if you just don't have enough losses?
(c) itemized deductions - not much you can do without morgage, huge business expenses over 2% of your 100k salary, large medical expenses, or just giving it all to charity. Maybe there are some other well known ones I am not taking advantage of?
(d) qualifying dividends - 20% rate, not 0% with 100k income.

Irrespective of your investments, after 16k 401(k) contributions, you are still stuck with 84k of income. Say, you reduced it in best case by 3k in tax-loss harvesting. Now you are down to 81k income... That's still way more than 5-7% in taxes with standard deduction!! Then add on state and local taxes!

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:21 PM   #40
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You are not retired if you have $16K in 401(k) contributions, so you pay taxes.

If you do not have W2 or earned income, that would be helpful. Taxes on qualified dividends are 0% to 15%. Taxes on net realized long-term cap gains are 0% to 15%. SS benefits are not taxed unless you exceed an income threshold. Unrealized cap gains are not taxed at all. Tax-exempt bond income is not taxed. Withdrawals from your Roth IRA are not taxed.

Anyways, you cannot avoid the taxes on your W2 earned income after maxing out deductible contributions to retirement plans, getting the standard deduction and exemptions. So to increase your exemptions just get married and have lots of kids. You can also purchase a huge house with a huge mortgage and property tax bill. If you donate most of your salary to charity, that will also help.

You can avoid taxes on your sizable taxable portfolio by tax-loss harvesting and by using tax-efficient index funds of equities that pay only qualified dividends. Put all your bond funds in tax-sheltered accounts if possible. Etc.
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