Author Topic: Maxing tax advantaged retirement accounts, does this look right?  (Read 1457 times)

Pizzabrewer

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Maxing tax advantaged retirement accounts, does this look right?
« on: February 15, 2017, 08:31:25 PM »
We're at a point in our lives in which our expenses are low and we need to start saving seriously for retirement (wife and I are in our mid-50s).  Gross income is somewhere between $90-95k depending on quarterly bonuses and side-gigs.  No interest or dividend income to speak of.  No capital gains (in fact we should be able to show capital losses thanks to some bad stock-picking).  Married filing jointly.

Assume we wanted to maximize everything available to us.  I've been doing some research and want to see if I've got this right.

18,000 Wife 401k (plus employer match, that doesn't count against the $18k--correct?)
6,000 Wife 401k catch-up
18,000 My 401k (not eligible until July 1 but assume for now I could pack it all into 6 months)
6,000 My 401k catch-up
6,500 Wife tIRA (we're under the threshold for phase-out)
6,500 My tIRA
3,400 Wife HSA (we are each on our employer's health plan, mine isn't HDHP)
1,000 Wife HSA catch-up

This would be a total of $65,400.  Assuming for the moment that we could live on the tiny take-home pay and our savings, does this look right?  Anything I'm overlooking?

With the standard deduction of $12,700 and the personal exemptions of $8100, and capital losses of $3,000, we've wiped out $86,200 of taxable income.  Our federal taxes should be almost $0 at this point, can this be right?

Now I just recently learned of the savers' credit.  Would we qualify under the above scenario?  What would that do for us tax-wise in addition to all the above?

Sorry for the elementary nature of some of these questions but we've never done any retirement or tax planning until now.  It's time to catch up. 

Thanks for any comments or advice on any of the above.


braje

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Re: Maxing tax advantaged retirement accounts, does this look right?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2017, 09:15:10 PM »
Take a look at IRS form 8880.  It is a Non refundable tax credit, meaning it will not lower you tax liability below 0.00, unlike a refundable credit eg EIC.  If use something like TurboTax it will figure the credit for you, if eligible.
You are correct that your DW match doesn't count toward her max of 24,000

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Maxing tax advantaged retirement accounts, does this look right?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2017, 09:57:14 PM »
Pizzabrewer - your assumptions are correct.  If you can keep your expenses under $30K, you should be fine.

Don't worry about being 'late to the savings game' - participating is the important thing, regardless of when one starts.   All the best!

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Maxing tax advantaged retirement accounts, does this look right?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 05:28:12 AM »
Still reading, still learning.

Should we be thinking Roth IRA in this scenario?

How about Roth conversions?  We have tiny amounts in traditional IRAs.

Also my wife has a decent amount in her 401k, can that be converted?  Her company's web portal makes no mention of such an option. Is that even a thing?

GregO

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Re: Maxing tax advantaged retirement accounts, does this look right?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 01:46:54 PM »
Have you ever read Go Curry Cracker's blog?  He maxed out all his retirement accounts and paid very little or no taxes over the last few years.  He has a lot of good blog posts that would help answer your questions.  Here's a good place to start, but he has a lot more articles on it:
http://www.gocurrycracker.com/never-pay-taxes-again/

GregO

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Re: Maxing tax advantaged retirement accounts, does this look right?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 02:06:10 PM »
Should we be thinking Roth IRA in this scenario?

How about Roth conversions?  We have tiny amounts in traditional IRAs.

Also my wife has a decent amount in her 401k, can that be converted?  Her company's web portal makes no mention of such an option. Is that even a thing?
To answer your specific questions, if you do get your income down to the point to where you are not taking all of your deductions or tax credits, then you should contribute to Roth IRAs instead of Traditional IRAs.  So if you did have $95k in taxable income and were able to deduct $31,900, then you probably should be contributing to Roth IRAs.

But the good thing about IRAs is that you can contribute to them up to April of the next year.  So you could max out your 401k's and HSA in 2017, save the money that would go into the IRAs, do your taxes in early 2018, then decide if it would be better to make your IRA contributions for 2017 into Roth or Traditional IRAs.

You also likely wouldn't worry about rolling anything over or doing conversions unless you are able to max out your Roth IRA contributions and you still have tax credits/deductions available.