Understanding Retirement Income Tax

By October 1, 2020Aricles

When you retire, you’ll likely draw your income from several sources—such as retirement accounts, taxable investment accounts, and Social Security Benefits. Each of these sources is taxed according to its own rules. So, in order to accurately plan for your retirement, you need to know what these rules are, whether (and when) you’re required to make withdrawals, and how paying taxes on distributions will impact your overall financial goals.

Here’s a breakdown of the most commons sources of retirement income and how they’re taxed:

Traditional IRA and traditional 401(k)

Withdrawals from traditional tax-deferred retirement accounts are taxed at your normal income tax rate. Once you reach a certain age, you must start taking—and paying taxes on—required minimum distributions (RMDs). The IRS changed RMD rules in 2020. If you reached age 70½ in 2019, you should have taken your first RMD by April 1, 2020. If you reached age 70½ in 2020 or later, you are required to take your first RMD by April 1 of the year following the year you turn 72.

Roth IRAs

Because contributions to Roth IRAs are made with after-tax money, withdrawals from these accounts are tax-free. You can withdraw contributions to your Roth account at any age; however, withdrawals on earnings before age 59 ½  are subject to early withdrawal penalties. Roth IRAs do not have RMDs like traditional IRAs, so your money can continue growing in the account. Because withdrawals from Roth IRAs are tax-free, consider making withdrawals from this account last to allow your savings to benefit from tax-free growth for as long as possible.

To learn more, download the PDF of the article:

Taxes in Retirement

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