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You might want to consider withdrawing at least enough from your IRA to fill up the 15% bracket.

Important point, Vicki. I've got a few year, yet, and it isn't clear where the brackets will be at that point (even if tax law is the same or similar) or exactly what earnings from savings and stock dividends in taxable account will be at that point.

My current thinking is gradually cashing out, over a few years, some rollover IRA money, paying 15%, and moving it into a Roth. But it may be possible to do that with some money from the main retirement account, too (the rules are confusing and there's no hurry to try to figure them out, since they will probably change, anyway). The rollover IRA does have more flexibility (e.g., CDs or Treasuries).

Then there's the question of when to start taking SS. I had assumed waiting, since we won't need the money through phase 1, makes most sense. But there are a lot of variables, including if they do something that hurts folks like us.

This is why I'm big on understanding all the options and running various scenarios. My bad case scenarios still have us with initial withdrawal of about 3% not including SS. I can't see any way of protecting against worst case scenarios that wouldn't greatly increase vulnerability to bad case and normal case scenarios.

Are you remembering, in your budgeting, to include big ticket items/home mainenance and long-term care insurance?
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