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"For many I suspect 70-1/2 and RMD gets you to your maximum income tax rate in retirement."

We may be headed in that direction because of recent distortions in the economic picture, but it hasn't always been that way. Dad was in his late 80's when I had to take over his accounts. By that time he had spent the previous 17 or 18 years accumulating dividend and interest income in his sheltered account which he took out near the end of the year (along with additional money from sales of stocks/bonds as needed to satisfy the RMD requirements), and had put them directly into his non sheltered 'main' account each year as required.

His main account consisted of stocks and bonds, but many of the bonds were directly purchased muni's generating 6-8% in untaxed income and some of the others were muni funds.

The result was that he had shrunk his IRA to a few hundred thousand dollars and grown his main account to a larger number. The main account had a combination of interest, dividends and bond interest that had a pretty low effective tax rate overall.

Dad was much more assiduous than I, but I am now emulating some of his moves at the age of 58 in preparation for my retirement. I am now trying to contribute more to my main account than I contribute to my IRA (at the moment, with kids grown and both still working we can max our sheltered accounts and contribute to our main account) so that I can have greater control over the taxation of income from that account.

The lesson that I wish I had learned earlier was to be more disciplined about saving money above and beyond our sheltered accounts.
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