- Aug 2022
Say you and your spouse are expecting to live on $5,000 a month in retirement
- Your Federal Pension of $1,500 a month
- Social Security benefit of $1,200 a month
- You’ll take $1,000 a month from your TSP
- Your Spouse has a pension from their job of $800 a month
- And you’ll take $500 a month from your spouse’s 401(k)
- You estimate your retirement income to be $5,000 a month… but you forgot to figure in taxes.
^^^Please keep in mind this is just an example to demonstrate the impact of taxes. Everyone’s tax situation is unique, and there are often many other factors that affect your tax liability.^^
Let’s say for our example that you might owe about $400 a month in taxes.
So instead of $5,000 a month, you’re really getting $4,600 a month.
IRS Pub 721 - "taxation of Federal Retirement Benefits"
about 90% to 98% of your FERS or CSRS pension will be taxable
CSRS or FERS Pensions are taxed at ordinary income tax rates
You can control your tax bracket
In class, I’ll ask people, “Where do you think tax rates are going in the future, up or down?”
Most of the people in the class think that taxes will be going up.
So the next question I ask is, “If you think taxes will be going up in the future – what are you doing about it now?”
People will say, “But I can’t control whether taxes go up or down.”
To which I reply, “Right, but YOU CAN control your tax bracket."
“You can control your tax bracket – if you plan ahead – and you know what you’re doing.”
Think about this – if all of your retirement money is in tax-deferred accounts, you will have to pay taxes on the money as you take it out in retirement. So what happens when tax rates go up? You’ll pay more in taxes.
But what if you planned ahead? What if you had money available from a variety of sources that were taxed at rates lower than ordinary income tax rates – or were tax-free?
You would be in a position to decide from which accounts you would take the money – and thereby decide how much you would be paying in taxes.
- Jul 2022