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I agree that getting a handle on taxes during retirement, even assuming current tax laws (which we know will change) is even harder than projecting future expenses. I'm also pretty sure, in our case, that we will be in a lower tax bracket (i.e., current 15%) for the first part of retirement, assuming we postpone retirement account withdrawals and Social Security, than once we have to take RMDs.

You might want to consider withdrawing at least enough from your IRA to fill up the 15% bracket. Return of capital (what I always thought of as savings before I knew about stocks and bonds) is taxed at 0% income tax!

I generally try to leave a healthy margin for error, so basically what I've been doing for estimates, even during phase one, is to take projected expenses and figure taxes on those, with no deductions.

I wish I'd thought of that! I wasn't sure it would work but, I just tested it and it looks close enough on the years I've finished. Good. I'll quit trying to refine those numbers.

I also know how much current state plus federal taxes are on Adjusted Gross Income and I figure taxes in retirement will always be less percentage-wise than that.

Our effective federal tax rate has varied from 4% to 40% of AGI in the last several years, so that didn't work for me. I think with AMT we paid 105% of AGI once. (We lived off our savings/capital that year.)

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