In the Phase one report I discussed why only focusing on the accumulation stage of retirement could be a big mistake. I emphasized the need for tax diversification in retirement to create the largest after-tax spendable dollar to help maintain your lifestyle when you retire.
I have seen where people have allocated their investments in categories relating to the type of tax structure the investment has, and then positioning the category to a timing of when to start taking the withdrawals from the category. Here are the categories:
|Type of Category||Contributions||Type of Growth||Distribution|
|Equities||After Tax||Tax Deferred||Growth Taxable|
|Taxable Income||After Tax||Taxable||Growth Taxable|
|Tax Free Income||After Tax||Tax Deferred||Tax Free|
|Tax Qualified||Pre Tax||Tax Deferred||Fully Taxable|
One method of distribution would be to defer the withdrawal from accounts that are tax deferrable, to grow the value for as long as possible. As you can see in the chart above, most of the accounts are tax deferred. However equities, if they are individual stock, may be tax deferred when outside a 401k or IRA, only to be taxed when they are sold. They may have taxable dividends yearly which would be taxable. Equities could also be personally purchased mutual funds which are taxable, and in many cases are not the type of account where you can control the timing of the tax exposure.
One strategy would be to use the taxable income plans first to give the other plans the opportunity to grow through tax-deferment. Or, we have seen where clients pull out their taxable income from the investments and supplement the balance with tax-free income plans from life insurance or the Roth IRA.
Other Distribution Methods
One might consider taking the taxable income category first since the income is taxable. The 2nd category may be the qualified plan money since that is 100% taxable. The 3rd category may be the equities which are taxed less than then category 1, 2, and are taxed on a capital gain basis. The last category would be tax-free because, the assets can grow tax-deferred over a longer period, and then give off a tax-free income, normally when more income is needed (purchase power and time), and all income would be tax-free.
Sometimes you need to withdraw income from two or more categories for reasons. For example, let’s say you are now receiving social security, but you are also receiving taxable income from your mutual funds, but you don’t want to create more taxable income which may disqualify you from some potential benefit. Or by receiving more taxable income, your social security tax liability will jump from 50% to 85%.
A consideration under that situation would be to withdraw tax-free income to support the needed income without causing an increase in taxes. Another need may be to qualify for housing benefits like freezing property assessments. Tax-free income may be the only way to qualify.
Qualified plans such as 401k, 403b and IRAs, are the most heavily taxed. Most people deposit their retirement savings into company plans since they are readily available through their employer. Very rarely are employees educated as to the tax exposure of the account when they retire, and many are surprised at the taxes they have to pay on the withdrawals.
In my planning, I use quadrants, I call my system, the “Asset Cycle Portfolio” and make the qualified retirement plan and IRAs the main generator of income.
I suggest to our clients that they defer the tax- free income plans, but I do let our clients know that the plans are a great place to grab money for the support of their larger purchases such as cars, second homes, and other items.
By using the tax-free life insurance plans, or Roth plans, they avoid paying tax today, and can defer the other accounts. I like the idea of the “family bank”, using the life insurance, as you can withdraw the money tax-free, and then replace the funds. I find this a great vehicle with great flexibility for life’s changes.
It is not uncommon for our clients to finance their new cars using tax-free cash value and pay the loan back at an assumed low rate which they set. By repaying the loan just like they would if it were a bank, they create the ability to reloan in the future the same money.
For example, I have a client who purchased their high-end vehicle at the end of the lease by loaning his consulting firm the money to buy out the car. His firm now has to pay him back over five years at 3%. He will make about $3,000 in interest earnings, plus his company can take the tax-deduction on the interest of the loan paid to him.
The big picture
It’s more important to invest in different categories of assets to have the ability to develop a tax wise strategy when you retire, as opposed to a one demension investment strategy. By doing so, you can take advantage of tax laws, eliminate unnecessary taxes, and create family banks with effective tax leveraging.
For more informtion on how to use Tax-Free Life Insurance, request my FREE WHITE PAPER, “Wealth Without Taxes”