Author Topic: 401k strategy w/roth ira to minimize tax  (Read 301 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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401k strategy w/roth ira to minimize tax
« on: March 08, 2020, 11:15:11 AM »
Hi Guys,

Just wanted to pass this by those that have done a bit more with retirement accounts or are currently in FIRE mode and actively drawing down accounts.

My plan is to put the majority of my disposable income into Roth IRA's and traditional 401k's.

So that would be 12k per year for the Roth Accounts since i'm married
39k into traditional 401k's per year

I plan to Semi-FIRE in 16 years when my last kid goes to college.  Luckily they are covered by grandparent gifts/ investments over the last few years in relation to college expenses.

So including the amount I have in my roth and 401k's at the moment that would amount to 282k in a Roth and 869k in 401k's by that point assuming a 4% rate of return.

I will then go down to contract or part-time work at this point, move back to australia for cheap healthcare (dual citizen) and then slowly draw down on the 282k in roth contributions (not earnings) to suppliment my expenses.  While doing this I will convert small chunks of 401k into roth ira's via the conversion later in order to take advantage of the low tax brackets and 24k standard deduction.  This would mean after earnings (assuming 30k in earning for an occasional contract gig per year) I could convert 30-40k of 401k money into roth. 

By the time i'm 65-69(not sure when retirement age will be by then for tax purposes) I will get social security/Australian superannuation so i won't need to do much work at that point assuming the above.

Does this sound like a good plan?  The main purpose is to avoid high tax brackets (currently in 24-32 depending on wife's earnings and bonuses for the top component of investments).  I wanted to see if anyone else has done the ladder to cover the gap between middle age and 65.



  • Magnum Stache
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Re: 401k strategy w/roth ira to minimize tax
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2020, 09:06:42 PM »
Throughout your post you mention "I will ... my plan", and then say "my wife" only in the last paragraph.  Do you plan to do any of this together?  Because you're suggesting moving really far away from your kids, which might make sense on paper, but could be much harder to do when the time comes.  Over the next 16 years, you might even have grandchildren.  Would that significantly influence your decision?

What about planning for two possibilities?  In other words, make sure both are viable, in case your plans change:
(1) stay near family and pay U.S. rates for healthcare...
(2)  move far away to Australia for the healthcare.