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The idea would be to defer essentially 100% of one of our incomes, to be paid out over a 15 year time span after termination of employment. It would smear those earnings over fifteen years instead of the next five years or so. That way we would revert to a one-income family and not see the marriage penalty.

Enron triggers laws make the deferred income plans very inflexible. Any change to distribution rules require a 5 year wait.

As you noted, the other problem is that the assets of the plan are company assets and not yours. If your employer has financial problems, the assets are subject to claims against your employer.

A living trust covers part of the financial issues, and should be done regardless. For states that have high probate costs, trusts avoid much of the cost of probate. More importantly trusts cover what happens when a trustee or all trustees are no longer able to handle their own financial affairs.

It is not immoral to pay the least amount of taxes required.

Given your income range, were you subject to AMT? If you are, have you taken it into consideration? AMT took back a significant amount of the Bush tax cuts.
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