For Mark Roberts’ Use: When you retire, many parts of your life will change. You won’t face a daily commute, you won’t be stuck at a desk, and you will decide how to spend your time. But there’s one thing that will stay the same for most of us: Most retirees pay at least some income taxes.
It might surprise you to learn that even your Social Security benefits can be taxed. Why does this happen, and what can you do to minimize the taxes due?
Mind the thresholds. If your adjusted gross income falls below $25,000 per year (for singles) or $32,000 (for married couples), you won’t owe income taxes on your Social Security benefits.
If that income falls between $25,000 and $34,000 (for singles), half of your benefits can be taxed. For married couples, half of benefits can be taxed if income falls between $32,000 and $44,000 annually.
And, if your income goes above $34,000 (for singles) or $44,000 (for married couples), up to 85 percent of Social Security benefits will be taxed.
Obviously, minding your threshold is one way to manage your taxes due. But you might want to enjoy more income than that, so further planning could be necessary to avoid as much taxes as possible.
Save money in a Roth IRA. Since contributions to a Roth IRA come from after-tax money, the distributions in retirement are tax free. This means they aren’t counted as a part of your taxable income, and therefore you can possibly lower or avoid the taxes on your Social Security benefits.
Take IRA distributions, while delaying your Social Security claim. Some retirees begin taking their IRA distributions as early as age 59 ½, while postponing their Social Security claim. This allows them to reap the maximum possible benefit at age 70, and then they switch to lower distributions that stay below the taxable thresholds.
This strategy isn’t right for every situation, so don’t leap to a decision. Instead, come sit down with us to run the numbers both ways. We can help you decide if one of these strategies, or something else, can help you minimize the taxes you will pay on your Social Security benefits.