How to plan for taxes in retirement
Retirement is meant to be a new and exciting chapter of your life where you are able to enjoy the wealth you’ve spent your life building — however, without proper financial planning, taxes can take a lot out of your retirement savings. In order to achieve a comfortable retirement, it is wise to go over a retirement planning checklist early on with a trustworthy financial advisor to ensure you are on the right track. This checklist should include aspects such as insurance and estate planning, determining your retirement income needs, retirement plans, and more.
Remember that your retirement plan should be unique to you. Finding retirement tax strategies that work with your current financial circumstances with the help of Avidian’s wealth managers can make tax planning for retirement much simpler. Here are some of the ways we recommend our clients begin implementing tax reduction strategies into their retirement plans.
1. Consider the tax burden on each of your retirement income sources
Look at your current savings account(s) and decide when and how to utilize those “buckets” at opportune times and in the most tax-efficient way possible to work towards creating a reliable stream of income during retirement.
Depending on where you live and your retirement income sources, there may be tax implications. For instance, withdrawals from 401(k) plans or traditional IRAs are subject to federal taxes in the U.S., while Roth IRAs do not have any tax liability at distribution time. Knowing the details of each account’s tax burden can help you plan accordingly and maximize the amount of money you have to live on in retirement.
2. Determine your retirement account
Those who are looking to optimize their retirement efforts often find themselves wondering, “where is the safest place to put your retirement money?” Unfortunately, the answer is not so black and white. When planning for taxes in retirement, you need to consider which retirement account is most appropriate for your specific needs. Would you benefit best from a tax-deferred account, like a traditional 401(k) and traditional IRA, where you lower your taxable income and pay taxes later? Or a tax-exempt account, like a Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s, where withdrawals are tax-free but you pay taxes upfront?
Your financial advisor can help you to determine which type of tax-efficient retirement savings account would be best for your current financial circumstances and overall goals.
3. Look into charitable giving strategies
Did you know that charitable donations can be tax-deductible? If you are an individual who loves to give back, you may benefit from qualified charitable donations (QCDs) — a strategy in which you donate a portion of your retirement savings to charitable organizations while reducing your taxable income. This strategy also gives you more control over how and where your money or other types of donations (for example, stocks) are being spent. This can be a great strategy to reduce tax liability if done correctly and responsibly.
Another charitable giving strategy you may want to consider is a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). With a DAF, you can gift to an investable fund and receive a tax deduction now, while retaining control as to when the funds will be released to your desired charities. This way you can get a tax benefit in the years you need them while taking your time to determine when and where the funds will go in the future.
Our financial advisors can help you to determine how much of your savings to donate to qualified organizations and charities that will benefit you most.
4. Plan for the future through estate tax planning
One reason to prioritize estate planning is to be able to leave your loved ones with enough support that they can be taken care of financially. However, when retirement strategies are not treated as a crucial part of your financial plan, you could be hit hard with taxes on your estate, leaving your loved ones with less than you envisioned. You can begin safeguarding your retirement savings and assets for your loved ones by seeing what steps can be taken to reduce your federal estate taxes, including the creation of trusts, marital deductions, gift-giving, and more.
If you want to leave more behind, speak to your financial advisor about effective estate tax planning for your unique circumstances.