Social Security’s Big Cost of Living Increase (COLA) Means MORE Taxes to Pay

I just turned 70…

Which means I’ll be receiving a special “birthday gift” from Uncle Sam for the first time.

Yes, I’m talking about my first Social Security check.

Even though I could’ve started taking Social Security eight years ago, I decided to wait until now since I’m still working and don’t need the money now.

Which is great because now I’ll get the maximum amount possible.

So, I’m glad I waited…

And I was even happier when I heard that in January, we’ll see an 8.7% increase in our Social Security checks with the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) – the largest increase since 1981.

On the surface that sounds like great news, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want a bigger Social Security check?

However, the devil is in the details, especially when it comes to retirement income, government benefits, and taxes!

Yes, the same hand that giveth, also taketh away…

Many people aren’t aware that it’s common to owe taxes on your Social Security benefits. Currently, if a couple makes over $32,000 (from retirement account withdrawals and other sources), 50% of their Social Security income gets taxed.

If a couple retires with an income above $44,000, up to 85% of their Social Security benefits are taxed!

I know this doesn’t sit well with many of the retirees we work with. I hear it all the time:

“What? You’re telling me all those mandatory contributions I was forced to make to the government for all my working years are also going to be taxed in retirement?!”

Yes. Unfortunately, that’s our reality.

But it wasn’t always like this…

You see, Social Security benefits weren’t taxed initially. But in 1983, Congress decided that up to 50% of benefits could be included in taxable income. Later, they raised the percentage to 85% for higher-income folks.

Plus, when the government introduced these changes to Social Security in the 1980s, they made a big mistake: they completely ignored the impact of inflation.

In other words, they did not index the thresholds to inflation. This means that tax bills get higher as inflation gets higher each year.

This “government goof” has hurt millions of Americans. When this was introduced, only 10% of Americans broke the income thresholds that require tax payments on their Social Security benefits.

Today over 50% of Americans pay taxes on their Social Security benefits. And this big cost of living increase will only bump millions more people into an income bracket where they’ll also owe taxes on their Social Security.

Taxes On Social Security Benefits Are Just the Tip of The Iceberg

Your Social Security benefits aren’t the only taxable income you have to worry about… a higher taxable income can make your Medicare premiums go up, too.

I know… I know… I’m full of good news today, aren’t I?

But this is important for you to know…

The IRS uses income reported on your federal tax return to determine the size of your Medicare premium payments. And a big cost-of-living increase, like the one happening in two months, can bump you into a higher premium payment. That can mean up to a 350% increase on premium payments.

But Wait, There’s More (Taxes!)

As you know, you also have to pay income tax on withdrawals from any tax-deferred accounts, investments or pensions. This includes any withdrawals you take from traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s and similar government-controlled retirement plans, and tax-deferred annuities.

So to recap…

  • The 8.7% cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase on Social Security will knock millions of seniors into a higher tax bracket
  • The COLA may also trigger higher Medicare payments
  • The IRS will continue to take a big tax bite out of your traditional 401(k) and IRA retirement account withdrawals

After all that, how much money will you actually have left over to live on in retirement?

For many, the answer is “not enough.”

Fortunately, There’s a Better Way…

There’s a way to structure your retirement income to minimize or even eliminate all these hefty taxes and costs. And this is something a highly trained Bank On Yourself Professional specializes in.

It’s called the Bank On Yourself safe wealth-building strategy, and it allows you to:

  • Pay your taxes up front… so you legally pay ZERO taxes on your retirement income (no nasty surprises like the ones mentioned above) https://www.bankonyourself.com/bank-on-yourself-tax-advantages.html
  • Legally avoid paying capital gains tax (because a Bank On Yourself plan isn’t considered an investment)
  • Take income in retirement that’s essentially “invisible” to the IRS when they calculate how much taxes you’ll owe on your Social Security benefits (unlike the income you take from a 401(k), 403(b), or IRA)
  • Also potentially reduce your Medicare premiums by up to two-thirds since the income from your Bank On Yourself strategy will not make your premiums go up

Get a Free Analysis To Help You Avoid These Surprise Retirement Taxes

If you’re interested in learning more about how adding the Bank On Yourself strategy to your financial plan can help you KEEP more of your hard-earned money, just click the link below to schedule a FREE, no-obligation Analysis today:

REQUEST YOUR
FREE ANALYSIS!

Simply answer the questions on that page and a Bank On Yourself Professional will be in touch with you to show you how you can legally protect your retirement income from being taxed. They can also show you how a Social Security “bridge” strategy can enable you to use other assets to delay taking Social Security until as late as age 70, when you can claim your largest possible benefit.

Since I’m in a nostalgic mood lately because of my birthday, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes…

When Does Taxation Become Theft?

In his first 100 days in office, President Biden unveiled three colossal spending packages earning him the nickname, “The Six Trillion Dollar Man.”

Biden and Congress are just getting started with the most massive expansion of government since FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression. Apparently, it’s desperately needed, even though the pandemic-caused recession is over.

This is a government that is notorious for wasting hundreds of billions of our hard-earned dollars every year. Think $518,000 to study how cocaine affects the mating habits of Japanese quails, $998,798 to ship two 19-cent washers from one state to another… and the list goes on. You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried!

And let’s not forget this is a government with a long history of not being able to make much of a dent in controlling fraud and abuse. The government admits that more than $134 billion of improper Medicare and Medicaid payments were made in 2020 alone – and that’s just one government agency. [Read more…] “When Does Taxation Become Theft?”

A Surprising Solution to the 15-Year vs 30-Year Mortgage Dilemma

Jon and Jen have an opportunity to buy their dream home and lock in a historically low interest rate. This is a pretty common scenario in today’s market. In fact, you may be thinking about buying a home or refinancing your mortgage to take advantage of today’s low rates. If so, here’s a powerful option to consider…

Jon and Jen are trying to decide whether a 30-year mortgage or a 15-year mortgage makes the most sense. Their mortgage broker showed them that even with an interest rate just 0.65% lower, the 15-year mortgage would save them almost two-thirds of the interest of a 30-year loan.

They decided the 15-year mortgage made the most sense. Their thinking was, “We’re both 48 now, and we plan to work until we’re 70. The sooner we get the house paid off, the sooner we can save more for the future. Plus, we really like the idea of saving almost $90,000 in interest.” [Read more…] “A Surprising Solution to the 15-Year vs 30-Year Mortgage Dilemma”

New Survey Reveals Majority of Americans Now Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck Due to COVID-19 Pandemic… Here’s How to Avoid That

A new survey from Highland Solutions revealed some startling stats about Americans’ spending habits during the pandemic. How many of these describe your situation?

  • 63% are living paycheck to paycheck
  • 47% have run out of their emergency savings
  • More than one-third have opened up a new credit card since the pandemic to help cover expenses
  • 42% have taken on more debt than normal, and nearly a third have racked up over $10,000 in new debt (a recipe for disaster)
  • 82% could not cover a surprise $500 expense
  • 67% regret not having enough savings before the pandemic hit

So How the Heck Did We Dig Ourselves into this Debt Hole?

For starters, you only need to look no further than the conventional advice about emergency funds. [Read more…] “New Survey Reveals Majority of Americans Now Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck Due to COVID-19 Pandemic… Here’s How to Avoid That”

Why More Experts Are Now Saying It’s Time to Ditch Your 401(k)

A growing number of retirement planning experts are joining the chorus of people saying 401(k) plans no longer make sense for savers in recent articles on Motley Fool, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, and other major publications.

They’re lamenting that one of the biggest appeals of the 401(k) – the ability to make contributions with untaxed dollars in exchange for tax-deferred growth and withdrawals – is disappearing.

The national debt was already skyrocketing before the pandemic spurred the biggest fiscal stimulus programs in history. And a surge in unemployment has lowered tax revenue for federal and state governments.

What do governments typically do to counter budget deficits?

They raise taxes, of course!

And as taxes rise, deferring them in a 401(k) or IRA means you’ll pay more later – potentially a lot more.

Even before the pandemic, the Center for Retirement Research said people lose 25%-33% of the value of their 401(k) to taxes… and most people are shocked when it happens because they forget they’ll owe the IRS taxes on every penny they’ve put in and every penny of growth they’ve deferred.

Do you know what the tax rates will be in 20 or 30 years from now? For that matter, do you know what they’ll be next year or in two years?

[Read more…] “Why More Experts Are Now Saying It’s Time to Ditch Your 401(k)”

Pros, Cons and Why the SECURE Act WON’T Make Your Retirement More Secure

The SECURE Act of 2019 is supposed to help more Americans save for retirement. The new legislation will have an impact on retirement plans – and not all of them are good.

In December of 2019, Congress passed H.R.1994 – the SECURE Act of 2019 – which contains the most sweeping changes to government-controlled retirement accounts – such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and IRAs – in more than a decade.

The SECURE legislation – which stands for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement” – put into place several provisions supposedly intended to strengthen retirement security.

Not surprisingly, the financial services industry spent many millions of dollars lobbying Congress to ensure passage.

So is the new legislation in your best interests? Is the SECURE Act really likely to increase your retirement security?

[Read more…] “Pros, Cons and Why the SECURE Act WON’T Make Your Retirement More Secure”

Shhh! Your Bank Has a “BIG” Dirty Little Secret – it Could Crush Your Retirement

Who can forget those dark days of the housing market crash of 2008? The vacant homes and neglected lawns.  The abandoned swing sets and forgotten barbecues. The bright signs and bold arrows that needed little explanation: “Foreclosure.” “Auction.” “Bank Owned.”

We’re told that the housing bubble and collapse was about predatory lending and high-risk borrowers who were duped into loans that they couldn’t afford. The massive regulatory response to the subprime crisis meant that banks were no longer allowed to behave BADLY… so they chose to behave DIFFERENTLY.

Shhh. Your Bank Has a “Big” Dirty Little Secret. Read this Very Carefully…

The largest source of mortgage lending in the United States is now being done by non-banks – financial entities that offer unsecured personal lending, business loans, leveraged lending, and mortgage services… but do not hold a banking license. As a result, they’re not subject to standard banking oversight and can engage in risky lending.

But where do they get the money to make these loans? You guessed it: Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America and everyone else who got their hands dirty ten years ago. [Read more…] “Shhh! Your Bank Has a “BIG” Dirty Little Secret – it Could Crush Your Retirement”

How to Pay Zero Taxes in Retirement – Without Being Broke

Do you have money in a tax-deferred retirement account such as a 401(k), IRA or 403(b)? If so, you’re sitting on a tax time bomb.

I’m going to reveal the tax traps you face and show you how to move toward a 0% tax bracket in retirement (legally!) – but not by doing it the way most people do it, which is by being broke!

Conventional wisdom says, “Maximize your contributions to tax-deferred plans. Your money compounds without being reduced by taxes, and you’ll end up with more money during retirement.”

But like much conventional wisdom about personal finance, it’s not true…

The Society of Actuaries says if the tax rates are the same,

It doesn’t make any difference whether [the taxes] are taken away from you at the beginning (tax-exempt) or at the end (tax-deferred). It’s the same fraction of your money that is left to you.”

But most people look at their savings and think it’s all theirs. You may have forgotten you’ll owe Uncle Sam the taxes he let you defer all those years – on every penny you’ve put in and every penny of growth.

And according to Boston College’s Center for Retirement director, Alicia Munnell,

It’s a very big deal when people realize they only have two-thirds or three-quarters of what they thought they had.”

If the tax rates are actually lower during your retirement, you might come out ahead by deferring your taxes. But where do you think tax rates are headed long term? You must consider what tax rates might be during a retirement that could last 30+ years.

Most people we talk to think taxes ultimately must go up due to the aging demographics of our country and our unsustainable national debt. (Recently the debt passed $21 trillion for the first time.) If tax rates do go up, and you’re successful in growing your nest-egg, you’ll simply end up paying higher taxes on a bigger number. [Read more…] “How to Pay Zero Taxes in Retirement – Without Being Broke”

Why is the “Father of the 401(k)” Now Putting His Money into a Bank On Yourself-Type Plan Instead?

It caused quite a stir when the man who is credited with being the “father of the 401(k),” Ted Benna, recently announced that he’s put a substantial part of his own money – “probably the biggest part of my wealth” – into what is most commonly known as a Bank On Yourself plan.

You see, for at least six years now, Benna has been calling the 401(k) a “monster” that “should be blown up.”

Benna is credited with finding a way to capitalize on the tax code to create a way for working men and women to supplement the pension plans that many workers used to have. Those pensions plans have been disappearing, and 401(k)s were created to hopefully help pick up the slack.

But over the years, Benna watched Wall Street and Big Business pervert the 401(k) in ways he couldn’t possibly predict.

In a recent interview, Ted Benna discussed three reasons why we should be very leery of 401(k)s and IRAs:

  • The government may repeal the 401(k) and IRA, so you won’t be able to put any more money pre-tax into these accounts, or the amount you can put in will be drastically reduced (Congress considered doing that again last year!)
  • Benna believes the next stock and bond market crash is imminent and could wipe out 40% of the typical portfolio
  • Wall Street has hijacked these plans, and the excessive fees charged by mutual fund companies and plan administrators are robbing you of up to half of your nest egg

I’ve Been Sounding the Alarm About 401(k)s and IRAs for Even Longer than Benna

[Read more…] “Why is the “Father of the 401(k)” Now Putting His Money into a Bank On Yourself-Type Plan Instead?”

Is Your Personal Balance Sheet – Your Financial Snapshot – Giving You a True Picture?

A balance sheet shows you at a glance what you own, what you owe, and what the difference is. The difference is your “net worth” – and the greater your net worth, the more you’re in a position to meet life’s financial uncertainties.

A balance sheet for John and Jane Doe, showing assets including $300,000 in retirement savings; and showing liabilities.
Figure 1. A Simple Balance Sheet
It’s called a balance sheet because your assets minus your liabilities always equals – balances – your net worth.

If you owe more than you own, your net worth is a negative number, and that’s an early indication of possible financial problems or bankruptcy in your future.

Here’s a simple balance sheet. See Figure 1. We see that John and Jane have added up the fair market value of their major possessions – their house, car, furnishings, cash in the bank, and retirement savings – and have total assets of $570,500. But when we subtract what they owe – their first and second mortgages, car loan, student loan, and credit card balances – their net worth (the cash they could come up with if they sold everything) is $369,000. [Read more…] “Is Your Personal Balance Sheet – Your Financial Snapshot – Giving You a True Picture?”