Jump to content

retirement withdrawl strategies


trostberg

Recommended Posts

Does anyone have a recommendation for advice (I am not yet retired) for withdrawls so as to minimize tax and maintain health subsidy income levels.

I am looking for someone who is not selling something if possible. If not in WI or wherever I happen to me traveling or change my domicile it may need to be via phone.

 

IF anyone can recommend a book on the subject that would be great too.

 

Thank you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought someone who has actual experience would reply to this for you by now. I'm not fully retired (and my wife is still working full time) but our plan is to live on SS and our retirement plan (school district and corporate) as much as possible and to not draw out of investment plans unless it's necessary.

 

In other words... no monthly draw from IRA or 401K plans. Between the two of us we should have enough to live and travel modestly but still be able to draw from investment plans for emergencies; either RV or medical.

 

But, since we have not yet done this, we're not completely sure we can scale back our lifestyle as much as we will need to. We'll get rid of the house but our local real estate market is not to the point where we can realize much gain even though we've owned this house since 1999. But at least it will rid us of the monthly payment. We will have a small (600sq ft) apartment built into our workshop for summer living or for whatever living becomes necessary and that's paid for. It will have solar panels so no power bills. We can park the motor home there with 50A hookups with water available and a dump site (but not a sewer connection).

 

So we think this is doable. If something happens the apartment is only a short walk (or bike ride) to grocery shopping and the town has free ambulance service through the fire department. Hospital is 10 minutes away. Clinic is 15 minutes away. Family is close.

 

Yet the best laid plans...

 

What have you figured out?

 

WDR

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For us the strategy was to hold off as long as possible but we have now reached the age of required withdrawals. Thus far the required minimum has been such that our fund has grown enough to offset the withdrawal and so our fund is still growing, but one can't count on that forever as the IRS required minimum then tends to rise each year as the intention is to make those funds taxable.

 

If you are depending upon investment income to make your budget workable, that makes for a totally different issue. Most such owners tend to attempt to either take the minimum required to keep the budget healthy or they base the withdrawals on some formula percentage. The catch there is to predict what the annual average growth will be so that the years that do not reach that return rate will not deplete the principal enough to impact the better years returns. If your budget is sufficient enough, I would not set a fixed amount unless your plan requires doing so and then I would minimize it as much as possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am certainly no tax expert. From what I have read, if you keep your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) below 139% of the poverty level you should be at the minimum tax level and maximum ACA subsidy level. It is my understanding that Roth IRA distributions do not count in the calculation of MAGI used to calculate the Affordable Care Act Subsidies. They are also not subject to income tax or the minimum distribution requirements. So, if you are not retired yet, you might consider converting any traditional IRAs to Roths and taking the one time tax hit (or smaller hits over a number of years) while you are still working. Then you could withdraw from the Roth accounts in latter years without paying income tax and affecting your ACA subsidy.

 

It is also my understanding that tax exempt bond interest is included as income in the subsidy calculation. So, while that type of income source would help minimize income tax; it would affect your subsidy.

 

To me, the bigger question, is how much do you need to live comfortably and RV the way you want to RV. Knowing that, you can likely devise a way to achieve your goal of minimizing taxes and maximizing your healthcare subsidy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I forgot all about the mandatory withdrawals. But even at age 72 mine aren't really that big a deal; and no one says you have to spend that money... you can always turn around and invest it in something. So far the DW at age 60 hasn't been hit with that yet.

 

We've always had some project that we put that money to work on, however. So far it's never been more than a couple thousand dollars.

 

WDR

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First thing we did, before I reached 60 was connect with a good financial advisor. He set things up so I was able to retire at 62, DW worked another 3 years. At the beginning he set up a string of CDs with laddered maturity dates using money we had already paid taxes on. That carried us through the first 5 years. Then SS and investments carried us from there.

 

We took a substantial hit in 2008, but stayed in the market and we have more than recovered. Even with our monthly income coming out we are about 15% ahead of where we were in '07.

 

I need to start the mandatory withdrawals this year, but as WDR noted you don't have to spend it, just pay taxes on it and reinvest.

 

Right from the beginning we set a max withdrawal rate of 4%, but that has not been a factor yet.

 

When Nancy hits 66 she will "file and restrict" for her SS. The restrict part is critical. Then she can apply for the spousal benefit on my SS which will be 1/2 of my full benefit - not the reduced benefit I get because I started early. Then her SS benefit will continue to increase to the full amount at 70 (?) at which time as he can begin collecting that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I retire, August 2016, I will take 5% each year of the $1,200,000 in my 403b retirement account. It is invested equality in stock and bond mutual funds. That with

my SS of $2,504 and BHs SS of $1,200 we will have about $8,700 per month and over $100,000 per year. Many years ago I read of the 5% withdraw in three financial planning books.

Now I have read of 4% withdraw to make sure that your funds last. I will use the 5% and I refuse to worry about my retirement funds running out. At issue: how long will we live and as I went thru

this with my parents, as they got to their mid 80s they didn't spend what they had coming in and it sat in their checking account. It seems that they required less as they got to their mid 80s.

I worked very hard to put funds into my retirement account over the 38 years that I have worked for my employer and my employer put a good amount into it as well. I did without during the past 38 years to fund a

decent retirement and now I am going to enjoy my golden years. Good Luck :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Read a book once called "Die Broke," the goal being to bounce the last check you write before you die. Interesting plan, but hard to predict.

 

Considering that my Mother-In-Law will celebrate her 101st birthday in less than a month we need to plan long term for Nancy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As with some others we are facing a combination of circumstances in the relatively near future. Our military retirement and SS income make for enough alone to meet our needs. We invested a relatively small amount to pay off our short term loan in two years for our property during the period immediately preceding the 2007/8 housing then banking bust. Folks thought we were nuts because I made significant income from Jan 2005-Dec 2009. But immediately after paying off our little five acre semi-rural home, we started buying USAA funds that tanked in a buyers market, along with the rest of the economy with 70-100% of my earnings weekly for almost a year. Folks invested in solid stocks should have been buying instead of selling then. We had all we needed/wanted with our retirement alone after paying off the property. Then I retired again as it grew so fast I asked the owner to get a younger guy because I wasn't willing to run the whole thing as CEO at 58 requiring six days a week 18 hours a day if I took over construction crews and materials, in addition to my marketing and IT division. That left me with a local biz checking account with Chase for my payroll and petty cash which in 2010 would not earn much in any savings account as the banks and CUs were, and still are, paying so little interest that for every $10k in a USAA preferred savings, they paid about $85.00 a year interest. I keep 10k liquid, and can live on retirement and SS quite well. So I took that account, and waited a few months for the rumored Tesla IPO, and put it there at $17and 22.50 a share. Our investments have nothing to do with our living expenses. With zero debt, it's icing.

 

However we are following this closely because we too will need to face this and have added the inheritance about to befall us at some time in the next five to ten years. As our remaining parents are like yours whj and as we recently took over their accounting found six figure checking accounts too. So now it just looks like we'll have some of those issues too.

 

Thanks for detailing as we will be in the same boat but with no need to take any disbursements. We made much less than our equally degreed and experienced civilian friends who could not understand the pride and professionalism in the military life. The best I could explain it to them was that if I and all the other good folks leave, who will that leave defending us??? We earned our retirements too. Some would take them away if they could. They need to ask themselves who that would leave defending them today, if they break their word with our past defenders, right in the face of our current one?

 

So either way we will be covered, even without any inheritance. But this thread made clear I have a lot I need to learn. I'm warming to the subject now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At this point in life everyone is operating with different specifics so there's no one answer.

 

In our case, we're dipping into our 401 at a 8-9% clip but delaying the start of Social Security, taking advantage of that SS 8% a year boost.

 

In a couple of years, we'll be able to leave the 401 alone completely and go completely over onto SS + pensions. Then a couple of years beyond that we'll have to do the required minimum withdrawal thing but will be able to reinvest the lion's share of that withdrawal.

 

At least that's the plan. Who knows what will happen that might derail all that over the next 5 years?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right now I am fine and plan to live on SS only which I think I can do. It is between now and Medicare that is my concern, especially if my part time job goes away before 62 and I am now 59 1/2.

 

If I convert traditional to Roth right now I am guessing that income will hurt me to qualify for health subsidy since I am not too far off the threshold.

 

My other issue is if I sell some farm land. That would put me over the subsidy level but I do not plan to sell that eventhough some family want me to.

 

Just looking for a good tax advisor I guess so I can put together a ladder of what to do when depending on income levels. And where best to put any leftover after I sell my house considering where my "ladder" has a need (need to buy a newer RV but will not spend it all).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...If I convert traditional to Roth right now I am guessing that income will hurt me to qualify for health subsidy since I am not too far off the threshold...

Since you are close to the upper income limit and not getting the full subsidy, it might be worth trying to figure out if losing the small subsidy now would result in a larger subsidy later, if the retirement plan withdrawls did not count as income. Depending on what state you domicile in, the future of subsidies in states using the federal exchange will not be known until the Supreme Court subsidy case decision.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is why I am looking for a good tax advisor. And I am in the middle of trying to decide domicile particularly after my house sells so if there is one that understands more than one state that would be great. Texas seems like a first choice but I think I am going to spend almost all my time on the west coast and Alaska perhaps?

 

Any recommendations

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I convert traditional to Roth right now I am guessing that income will hurt me to qualify for health subsidy since I am not too far off the threshold.

Keep in mind that if you convert to a Roth you must pay income taxes on the money which goes into it at that time and so it will take a big bite from your existing funds. The only advantage to a Roth is that the growth is not subject to income tax and based upon what you have said, I doubt that you are now paying any federal income taxes so there would be nothing gained by such a move.

 

My other issue is if I sell some farm land.

Remember that this money is only subject to income tax if the sale price exceeds the purchase price by more than is allowed for tax purposes. If this is attached to the sale of your house, I think that the home exemption applies to both, but you probably should make sure of that before you make a decision.

 

Texas seems like a first choice but I think I am going to spend almost all my time on the west coast and Alaska perhaps?

Alaska is a good choice of domicile if you actually plan to live there since they have no income tax and even pay the citizens, once you qualify as a permanent resident. Most of the west coast states have an income tax, with the exception of WA. None of them are particularly well known as a good choice for a fulltimer, although OR is pretty good to those who are qualified, except for their income tax. Texas is very RV friendly, but you also must be aware of the laws of the states where you spend extended periods. Most states will require that you move things to their state if you overstay what they consider to qualify as a visitor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right now I am fine and plan to live on SS only which I think I can do. It is between now and Medicare that is my concern, especially if my part time job goes away before 62 and I am now 59 1/2.

 

If I convert traditional to Roth right now I am guessing that income will hurt me to qualify for health subsidy since I am not too far off the threshold.

 

My other issue is if I sell some farm land. That would put me over the subsidy level but I do not plan to sell that eventhough some family want me to.

 

Just looking for a good tax advisor I guess so I can put together a ladder of what to do when depending on income levels. And where best to put any leftover after I sell my house considering where my "ladder" has a need (need to buy a newer RV but will not spend it all).

 

 

Since you are close to the upper income limit and not getting the full subsidy, it might be worth trying to figure out if losing the small subsidy now would result in a larger subsidy later, if the retirement plan withdrawls did not count as income. Depending on what state you domicile in, the future of subsidies in states using the federal exchange will not be known until the Supreme Court subsidy case decision.

Ditto on what trailertraveler said. To add to that you really need to put pen to paper (or an excel spread sheet) and look at the different numbers. Don't just focus on loosing the subsidy, focus on the long term.

 

A good way to do this is to get a copy of Turbo Tax (or other tax prep program) and put in different situations. That is; put in your income & age you expect to be when you have SS and your other income and see just how much of your SS will be taxed. Also change your age to 70 1/2 when you will be needing to take money from your 401K or IRA's and see what that does to your taxes.

 

It may be better in the long run to rollover money from your 401K or IRA into a Roth IRA, pay taxes on it, but stay in the 15% tax bracket, than to wait until taking money forces you to pay 25% on your withdrawals because of the taxation of your SS.

 

Currently a married couple filing jointly can have a "taxable" income of around $75K before going into the 25% tax bracket. Note, I said "taxable" income. That is after deducting the standard deduction of close to $13K plus the individual deduction. So your gross income can be quite a bit above the $75K before getting into the 25% tax bracket.

 

All this stuff gets calculated pretty easily using a tax prep program. Once you have done all your homework with your tax prep software, then is a good time to visit with the financial or tax advisor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...I am now 59 1/2...

 

Keep in mind that if you convert to a Roth you must pay income taxes on the money which goes into it at that time and so it will take a big bite from your existing funds. The only advantage to a Roth is that the growth is not subject to income tax and based upon what you have said, I doubt that you are now paying any federal income taxes so there would be nothing gained by such a move.

Since you are 59 1/2, you can withdraw and convert any amount of a traditional IRA that you choose, You do not have to convert the whole amount at one time or in one year. The withdrawal limitation to lifetime payments only applies to those younger than 59 1/2 so you have until age 70 1/2 before you are required to take the minimum withdrawals from the traditional IRA. You can structure the conversions to minimize or spread out the impact on your annual federal income tax. As I stated in my early post, it is my understanding that Roth withdrawals do not count as income in calculation of the ACA subsidy while traditional IRA withdrawals do. It is also my understanding that Roth IRA distributions do not affect whether or how much Social Security benefits are taxed. Whether the other differences between traditional and Roth IRAs like not having to ever take mandatory withdrawls from a Roth will make a difference is something you would have to calculate and decide.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is an organization of fee only planners called NAPFA that seems to be recommended in financial articles often. These fee only planners do not sell any products so they do not have any reason to sell you on investments that they get paid a commission or other kick-back. They typically will want you to stay with them on a long term basis and take a percent of your holdings as payment, but most will do a one time project such as recomend a withdrawal strategy for an hourly rate.

 

A NAPFA member planner we talked to in Ohio wants 8/10 of a percent to manage our funds or $150/hour for staff time and $300/hour for the owners time to do a one time project. They told us there clients have typically gotten more than there fee back in increased income and rarely do they leave once they start.

 

My dilemma is should I continue to wing it myself as I have always done, or try them. I have always invested in no-load, low fee funds, which is their strategy. Where I may benefit most would be following their advice that might steer me toward a more appropriate risk/return from better diversified allocation of investments.

 

I would never trust advice from anyone selling insurance or taking commissions from investments they are recommending.

 

Here is a link to where you can search for a NAPFA fee only planner:

 

http://findanadvisor.napfa.org/Home.aspx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread is very timely for my wife and me.

 

Like some here, we have a military retirement and Tricare Prime which we are currently using. In about three years, we're eligible to start withdrawing from our 401K nest egg -- we currently have Voya managing about 2/3 of those monies. At age 62 1/2, I can start drawing SS benefits with my wife drawing hers several years later.

 

We want to start taking our business down to part-time when we start drawing funds from the 401K. The business isn't one you can take on the road -- when we decide to full time, we must close the business (it's in real estate). We're earning a good income from it but the time involved and the weirdness of the real estate market in general is why we are looking forward to actually retiring and being the greeter at Wal-Mart. Or maybe being workampers.

 

It is now very clear to me that I need to talk to a certified financial planner who can look at our situation holistically and give us advice that fits our situation. Thanks to those that posted the links to all of that good information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At this point in life everyone is operating with different specifics so there's no one answer.

 

In our case, we're dipping into our 401 at a 8-9% clip but delaying the start of Social Security, taking advantage of that SS 8% a year boost.

 

In a couple of years, we'll be able to leave the 401 alone completely and go completely over onto SS + pensions. Then a couple of years beyond that we'll have to do the required minimum withdrawal thing but will be able to reinvest the lion's share of that withdrawal.

 

At least that's the plan. Who knows what will happen that might derail all that over the next 5 years?

 

As mentioned above, check into the File and Suspend to at least get the Spousal going at zero impact to he 8% per year growth to 70.

 

We too are drawing down heavy on our combined rolled over IRA's and Roth IRA's. (And having both in your tool box, provides more options for distribution.)

 

We believe in a few key principals:

1) Do enjoy your early retirement years as much as possible while younger and in good health. (Thus, we are not afraid to draw down a bit heavier these early years.)

2) Do have a strategy in place, in case of financial market collapse periods. (We will cut our expenses, and have our Park of Sierra site as our 'we can go hide here, for very little costs'. As well as have almost 50% of our retirement accounts in fixed type funds. Yes, the evil annuity can server a purpose as one of the tools in the tool box:)!

3) In the line with faster drawdown, especially in a very low interest rate world. We are letting the SS grow at the 8% per year. (I actually have done a shift on this. As I just recently got my first SS check, starting at 62. I had planned to suspend at 66, and let it grow at 8% for four more years. But just last week I did a mind shift to continue drawing down a bit heavier on the IRA's and Roth IRA's. I'm sending my money back to SS, and backing out of starting.)

4) We're not exotic on our investments. We're the Tortoise in this race, and finishing is winning for us! Fixed assets via annuity on some funds, and conservatively invested with all of them. We are two months away form completing a 6 month shift out of our portion that have been in bonds - so when the stampede of Flight from Bonds starts, we'll be on the sidelines.)

5) I'm older then the DW by 5 1/2 years. And the DW does not enjoy, understand and is frankly frightened by all of this finance stuff:)! So, we set things up in such away, that she is 'covered' financially. This peace of mind for her, for sure needs a much lower overall return then we've had in the accumulating decades. But, the key now if to draw and persevere - more then to grow. (And yes, we do have growth, enough to keep up and support a future lower drawdown rate well.)

6) We have believed in real estate. It has done us well over the decades. That being said, we are two years into a 5 year wait until we decide if we will sale some or all of our real estate, and convert the equity into easier to manage and maintain investments. Not to be doom and gloom, but concern that with less and less of a middle class - property demand could drop in the decades ahead. Toss in the probable timing of a world financial correction probably within the next 10 year window. We feel taking the assets/bird in the hand out of some or all of our real estate, maybe prudent.

7) We also remind ourselves to always remember the 'Too Big To Fail' failures, and how AIG was saved by all our future increases in taxes. So, we keep our eye on things, and are ready to 'financially hibernate' if ever needed.

 

Many members on this board helped us as we worked out way thru so many areas in retirement preparation. Good examples, and honest bad examples too.... with the courage to share their mistakes and help people such as my wife and I with their lessons learned.

 

To the OP. Do your best to keep in the game. Read as much as you can on the aspects of finances. Keep reading on forums like this. And, do keep looking for an advisor you feel you can trust. Word of mouth is good, to get an individual. I also feel that companies like Fidelity and Vanguard, can with the right level of investments - provide a free low cost overview and roadmap for this part of your journey. Go play with online calculators like FIRECalc, and others. Do some 'What if?' on your own. Then you'll be better positioned to ask questions, and in my case frankly just understand, what a financial planner is talking about.

 

Trust yourselves first! Best of luck to you ahead, an exciting time!!

Smitty

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Smitty,

As usual great advice, well stated. I drew my first SS last June the month after I turned 62. My Significant Harassment of 43 years is two years and 17 days younger than me, and we share our May birthdays with our oldest son. She will begin drawing her SS too next year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the discussion. Not sure if the financial planners will be versed in a variety of states that could impact strategies differently but if there is no state tax that is not a concern for withdrawls.

I currently pay plenty of federal and 2 states income tax. My farm land is in a different state than my home. I lived the first 30 years of my life in Washington and that may be an option for a future domicile since I think I will spend most of my time in the west. Only in Alaska a summer or two I am guessing.

I have done the different scenarios in Turbo Tax to some extent. Would like to move my investments to some with lower fees once I am no longer with my employer and their retirement .....but need to watch how that income adds to the existing and put me in a higher tax bracket. SO much to consider.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As well many states that do have income taxes like here in Louisiana exempt 100% of military retirement pay from taxation. For military retirees that levels the playing field quite a bit, and adds more states to consider for domicile. My current state of domicile is Louisiana. Louisiana also does not tax SS benefits. So for military retirees, and some federal retirees, different states offer different tax benefits than non military retirees. Which makes a big difference in retirement strategies as well for some.

 

27 states do not tax SS: http://www.fool.com/retirement/general/2014/07/04/social-security-27-states-that-wont-tax-your-benef.aspx

States that do not tax military retirement pay: http://themilitarywallet.com/military-retirement-pay-tax-exempt/

 

Lots of things many don't consider. (Or even know about)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WA could be a good choice since they don't have any income tax and most RV fulltimers don't own any real property to pay taxes on. Sales tax is only a big deal when we trade vehicles or RVs, since we pay on other things wherever we happen to be when we make a purchase. Wills and estate laws can be an issue but most times for those who have more than the average size estate, although it should not be overlooked if you have anything at all to be distributed. Most fulltimers find that convenience is as big a factor as most other issues.

 

I commend you for searching for the best answers early as far too many wait for the last minute and then things just happen to them rather than being chosen by them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...