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When it comes to retirement, one of the biggest questions on people’s minds is how their income will be taxed. There are a variety of different retirement plans out there, each with its own set of rules when it comes to taxes. In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at how some of the most popular retirement plans are taxed.


401k’s are employer-sponsored retirement plans that allow employees to save for retirement on a tax-deferred basis. This means that the money you contribute to your 401k is not taxed until you withdraw it in retirement. When you do start withdrawing from your 401k, the money is taxed as ordinary income.

There are a few things to keep in mind with 401k’s and taxes. First, you may be subject to an early withdrawal penalty if you take money out of your 401k before you turn 59 1/2. Additionally, 401k’s are subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) once you reach age 70 1/2. RMDs are the minimum amount that you must withdraw from your 401k each year, and if you don’t take them, you’ll be subject to a penalty.

401k’s are nice because usually when an employer offers a 401k, they will match a percentage of what the individual put into the 401k. This is a great way to increase your total retirement savings. 401k’s also allow for a higher contribution rate, in 2021 that rate is a total of $19,500 per year or $26,000 if an individual is over 50.

Some drawbacks are that you may not have as many options with regard to what to invest in or it even might auto invest for you. Another downside to 401k is that the fees are usually higher than for other retirement type accounts.


IRA’s, or Individual Retirement Accounts, are another popular way to save for retirement. There are two types of IRA’s – traditional and Roth. Traditional IRA’s work similarly to 401k’s in that the money you contribute is not taxed until you withdraw it in retirement. With a Roth IRA, however, the money you contribute is taxed upfront but then grows tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free in retirement.

With both types of IRA’s the money that is in the account grows tax free. With traditional IRA, you can limit the amount of tax deduction since that is pre-tax money going into the account. That will lower your taxable income for the year.

Unlike 401k’s the contribution limit is quite a bit lower, as it is only $6,000 a year and if you are 50 or older can contribute up to $7,000 a year. If one is to withdraw before 59 and a half, there is a 10% penalty on top of any taxes that might be owed in a traditional IRA.

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Social Security

Social Security is a government-sponsored retirement program that provides benefits to retirees. The amount of your Social Security benefit is based on your earnings history. Social Security benefits are taxed as ordinary income, but only if your total income (including your benefit) is greater than $25,000 for an individual or greater than $32,000 if filing a joint tax return. Otherwise, there is no taxes on your social security benefits.

The benefits of social security is that it provides income to retirees during their retirement and it also give you the option of when you would like to receive their benefits.

The drawbacks are that some people are not eligible for social security and that there is worry that the social security funds are dwindling and it might not provide you any benefits by the time you decide to retire.

Private Income

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Private income, such as pensions or annuities, is also taxed as ordinary income. If you bought an annuity, it was more than likely purchased after tax dollars so in that case the only taxes on the annuity would be on the earnings of the annuity.

Pension is going to be taxed at the regular federal rate, but some may have an option to take a lump sum, if elected to do so when you file taxes the next year, the taxes will be included in your next tax election.

As you can see, there are a variety of different ways that retirement income can be taxed. It’s important to understand how each type of income will be taxed before making any decisions about your retirement savings. Depending on how you have your retirement savings will determine your tax implications. Each one of the types of retirement savings will differ on how they are taxed.


Senior Check-In 

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This information was provided by Senior Check-In in Indiana. Senior Check-In offers home care services including memory care, respite care, and companion care.

Interested in learning more about Senior Check-In? Contact us online, or call at (855) 420-1200.

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