In March, several news publications announced that President Obama's 2015 budget proposal included changes to Social Security claiming strategies. Announcements of this nature put in question the benefit of Social Security planning and, I fear, cause retirees to claim their benefits as soon as possible. After all, many retirees may think something is better than nothing and our government is bound to make some changes to the program.
In 1983, Congress passed a series of amendments that led to the taxation of up to 50 percent of Social Security benefits, and in 1993, a second tier was added that taxed 85 percent of the benefits. Today, single retirees with provisional income above $25,000 and couples with provisional income above $32,000 will be required to make a special tax calculation for the Social Security benefits they received. In short, the term provisional income is a special phrase used for the purpose of defining the tax on Social Security benefits. The additional income tax generated by these amendments goes directly back into the Social Security fund. At the time of the amendments, the thought was that retirees generating this level of income could afford to lose a little bit of their Social Security benefits to income taxes.
Following up on my recent Social Security-related post, this piece will cover why it can be beneficial to delay claiming social security benefits at times. Social Security beneficiaries born before 1954 can begin receiving benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70 -- the majority of the strategies to maximize a person's benefits are built around when to claim benefits between these ages.
Over the next several months, I will write about Social Security benefits, claiming strategies to maximize your benefits, and challenge you to view this program from several different perspectives. But first, I want to address the ever-present concern that the program is going broke -- if the program doesn't have resources to pay benefits, claiming strategies would be a waste of time.
In my past posts covering retirement withdrawal rates, I addressed various issues relating to asset allocation, different time frames of retirement, and the impact of taxes, among others. In this piece, I would like to highlight how market conditions can affect retirement planning, focusing on an issue that has dominated the headlines -- interest rates.
Last month, I addressed tax diversification and how you can have flexibility to pull assets from a variety of locations to manage the income tax impact on spending during retirement. In addition, in my series on retirement withdrawal rates, I have weighed in on a number of issues impacting this subject matter.
President Obama's 2014 budget includes two proposals that can impact wealth managers and investors. The plan suggests:
In the series of posts I wrote on retirement withdrawal rates, my goal was to summarize various technical articles into actionable advice for pre-retirees and retirees. One of the top fears of retirees is the prospect of outliving their financial resources. By understanding withdrawal rates, people can have reassurance that their retirement is on track and they have the ability to maintain a specific lifestyle.
In past posts, I covered two issues relating to retirement withdrawal rates. My November post detailed William Bengen's "4 percent rule" for sustainable withdrawal rates, and my December piece focused on the relationship between beginning withdrawal rates and asset allocation -- both centering around a withdrawal time period of 30 years. In this post, I will discuss the appropriate level of change to withdrawal rates under longer and shorter time frames.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), enacted to avoid the fiscal cliff, includes two provisions that may be important to certain IRA owners and retirement plan participants. The first extends tax-free charitable contributions from IRAs through 2013, and the second liberalizes the rules for 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) in-plan Roth conversions. Read on to learn about each provision and what it means for you.