Retirement Tax Management: Social Security and Taxes

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By Roger Whitney and RMA. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Nobody likes taxes, but tax management in retirement doesn’t have to hurt so bad. During this Retirement Tax Management series, you’ll learn about tools and tricks you can use during retirement to lessen your tax burden and make paying taxes as painless as possible. On this episode, we’ll focus on Social Security and how it affects your tax burden. You’ll also hear retirement tax tips from a variety of other professionals. Make sure to listen to the whole series to learn as much as you can and when you’re done be sure to take the listener survey so that we can get your opinions to refine the show to cover topics that interest you.

Tax management tips from a variety of professionals

When looking for good advice it helps to crowdsource to hear a variety of tips. Check out these ideas to help you lessen your tax burden in retirement.

  1. CFA, CFP and writer, Peter Lazaroff, focuses his advice on limiting your RMD liability. He encourages listeners to minimize their RMD liability early on, prior to age 70 ½, by doing partial Roth conversions. It’s important to remember all of those pretax dollars will be taxed eventually. Think about it early on so you won’t get stuck with a huge tax bill at age 70 ½.
  2. Julie is currently maxing out her husband’s 401K to save for retirement, In addition, she is funding an HSA with pre-tax money. She is paying cash for her medical bills now and saving those receipts to withdraw from the HSA in retirement. She is using the HSA like a slush fund. Julie also uses a donor-advised fund for charitable giving.
  3. Brandon Renfro Ph.D. encourages you to consider your multi-year tax rate. In retirement, income is multi-dimensional and you can manage when you
  4. Michael Hennessy, CFA, CFP, recommends using a qualified charitable distribution if you are charitably inclined. When having to take your RMD, if you don’t need the full amount of money, give it away. This will help with IRMA as well as help you manage your tax brackets.
  5. Michael Molitoris suggests auto-withholding a portion of your IRA distribution for tax purposes. Make sure to also withhold taxes from your Social Security check. This will help save you from filing quarterly taxes and it will further save you from a huge tax bill.
  6. Ashley Daniels use your tax return as a tool to help you think about tax brackets, IRMAA, and Social Security.
What can you do to help you get ready to plan for your Social Security benefit?

As you are sitting here thinking about Social Security and retirement, you might be wondering what you can do to be proactive. There are 2 things you can do right now. First, go to ssa.gov and set up your login to begin to manage your account. Review your earnings history, give it a once over to make sure it is reported correctly. Your benefit is based on the reported earnings history so you’ll want to make sure they are in the right ballpark and act early if something is amiss.

Secondly, check out the retirement estimator calculator. This is a great tool to help you with multi-year tax planning which is imperative in retirement.

Are your social security benefits taxable?

Wait! I already paid taxes on my Social Security benefits, why are they taxing me again? This is why we’re learning about retirement tax management now. So there won’t be any surprises later. Your Social Security benefit is taxable but only up to a certain amount. It really depends on your adjusted gross income (AGI) and your nontaxable interest accounts. Make sure you listen to the examples I give to fully understand when and how your Social Security benefits are taxed.

What can you do now to help manage future taxes?

In your working years, you don’t really have control over your tax bracket or how much you will owe, but in retirement, you can have a lot of control if you are proactive. Multi-year tax planning is so important and that’s why you are listening to Retirement Answer Man now.

There are several strategies that you can think about using to manage your taxes. Consider these:

  • Delay Social Security while you take distributions from your IRA’s or earn income in pretirement
  • Start converting your IRA’s to Roth IRA’s early
  • Consider multi-year tax strategies to think about your IRA withdrawals
  • Fill your tax bracket

Make sure to listen in next week to meet our old friend IRMAA and find out how she could affect your Medicare premiums.

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE RETIREMENT ANSWER MAN HOT TOPIC SEGMENT
  • [4:00] Tax tips from financial advisors
PRACTICAL PLANNING SEGMENT
  • [11:40] How does the tax scheme work in retirement for your Social Security benefit
  • [14:07] Are your Social Security benefits taxable?
  • [17:45] Let’s look at an example
  • [23:22] What can you do now to plan for the future?
THE THANKFUL LAB SEGMENT
  • [26:30] I’m thankful for the listener interaction we get
TODAY’S SMART SPRINT SEGMENT
  • [28:14] Go register at SSA.gov and check out the new retirement calculator
Resources Mentioned In This Episode

SSA.gov

Retirement Estimator Calculator

IRS Publication 915

BOOK - Making Money Simple by Peter Lazaroff

Rock Retirement Club

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement by Roger Whitney

Work with Roger

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

302 episodes