My friend and neighbor came over this morning to drop off a Christmas present and some cookies she baked. I gave her my present earlier, not knowing if I would see her again before Christmas, but forgot to put the second half of my gift in the bag, so while she was here, she let me slip it in her pocket. Wonder if she'll peek.
I have not done much Christmas decorating this year, but I did put out this over-the-top, festive tablecloth my Slovakian grandmother made in 1975. Nothing brings me back to Christmases past like this tablecloth. Many a Christmas dinner was enjoyed on it. How she kept it clean, I have no idea. It is not very durable and is made of felt, with lots of beads and sequins, yet somehow I've been able to keep it all these years.
This time of year always flies by after so many weeks of warmup. Before you know it, it will be New Year's, then tax time...ugh.
I am thankful I am not traveling...anywhere...for Christmas. It always seems like such chaos at the airports, and on the roads.
I'm eager to think about what 2024 holds in store for me. It's an important year, as I'll be picking out a Medicare plan next summer and quitting my p/t writing job so I will become fully retired...wow! That's going to be a big change....meaning, spending down my traditional IRAs for living expenses between age 65 and 69. At 69 and a few months (determined to be the most opportune time to begin) I'll start getting Social Security.
It's another big milestone that will make spending down personal savings unnecessary, but I guess I'll continue to do so, converting the distributions into taxable savings that I'll reinvest, since at age 73 I'll need to start making Required Minimum Distributions as a percentage of my total IRAs.
One thing I haven't really figured out is how, exactly to structure my IRA withdrawals at 65. I recall my mother had her savings with T. Rowe Price, and they made it easy to do RMDs by taking proportionate amounts from all of her funds so that she she could preserve her asset allocation; the balances on each fund was reduced by a little instead of being sold off entirely.
But say I want an income of about $40,000, or $3,333 a month. It doesn't sound like much, but I still have about $1,000 gross coming in monthly from my annuity, so $51K a year is plenty. Should I just have Vanguard make monthly auto deposits to my checking account, proportionately, or is there a better way to do it?
Also, if I take $40,000 a year in traditional IRA income annually from age 65 to 69 (and maybe longer), then I'll have reduced my total traditional IRA monies by about $160,000 so that at 73, my RMDs will be lower, also possibly keeping me in a lower tax bracket.
I don't need that much income with my annuity, and in fact, the less I take from personal savings (taxable distributions) now, the more I get back in property tax credits in my town. I guess that's not as important as reducing RMDs, but it is a generous tax credit; you can make as much as $70,000 and still qualify for $920 off your property taxes. If you made under $45,000, you are eligible for $2,900 off your taxes, and there are a few tiers in between.
I always wanted to take advantage of this program (and a less generous state tax credit), but perhaps $2,900 a year is not all that important in the grand scheme of things.
One final question in my mind is how I should go about buying a new car/SUV. My Honda is 10 years old, at this point, with just 101,000 miles, so I could certainly hold onto it longer, but truth be told I knew within a year of buying it that it didn't really suit my needs. I'm ready to buy a new vehicle as soon as this month (!), or I could wait another year or so.
What I'm wondering about is how to come up with the roughly $25,000 (after trade-in) for purchase. (I like to avoid car loans.) If I take it out of traditional IRAs, that's taxable income, and so in addition to my local property tax credit, higher taxable income also might affect my Obamacare premium amounts, which might be one reason to wait til age 65 when I'm on Medicare.
It looks like Toyota's current finance rate is 4.99%. I suppose I could withdraw from my Roth IRAs, which is not taxable income, but not sure if that's advisable since I had wanted to use Roth IRA monies to "top off" traditional IRA withdrawals to avoid bumping up into a higher tax bracket. It just would give me greater flexibility.