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No, withdrawals are made at the marginal rate.

You keep saying this, but it is wrong. If you withdraw an additional $100, you pay 12%/22%/24% additional tax, even if your effective rate is 7%.

All you need to do is google it. "The marginal tax rate is the tax rate paid on the next dollar of income."


intercst correctly provided a good summary. Also you put into your own reply the exact situation.

My contributions are made at my marginal rate. By that, I mean my decision to invest through 401k/Roth 401k are on my last dollars earned. Either I use the 401k as a pre-tax contributions or make after-tax Roth 401k contributions. Since my marginal rate is 32%, I'm making 401k contributions.

Let's assume the tax rates don't change even though they have a sunset date. Also assume intercst is correct in that most of my retirement income will be 401k withdrawals. My 401k withdrawal will first have to fill the 12%/22%/24% marginal brackets before my first dollar is taxed at 32%. For joint returns in 2021, our income will need to exceed $329k before it starts getting taxed at 32%.

For your situation to be correct (withdrawals are made at the marginal rate), then I'll need to have other income of $329k before I make a 401k withdrawal.

PSU
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