If you are over 66 (and under 70) and not yet getting Social Security you can easily get a $15 – $25,000 loan from Social Security. It’s actually very easy to do and there is no penalty whatsoever. You just have to completely pay it back within exactly 12 months and no longer. It is best done at the very start of the year so that your 1099-SA (Social Security tax form) will show a full repayment in the same year. Just file form SSA-521.
I actually did this in 2014. I filed and received my Social Security benefits effective January 2014 and stopped my benefits, repaying it all in December 2014. Each month I received my $2,600 benefit (the maximum payment allowed in 2014). Separately I paid my $104/mo Medicare payment and did not have any Federal Tax withheld. The net effect was that this money was invested in the market, I didn’t calculate exactly how much I made off of this loan but my overall investments were up double digits for the year. This was probably the easiest $2,000 or so I ever made.
Unfortunately you can only do this one time!
As you probably know from reading my other articles, I have no intentions of taking my Social Security benefits until I’m 70 years old since they grow tax free at 8%/year plus a cost of living increase compounded.
If you are like me, you are either retired or close to it. One quick shock on the day you retire is that you no longer have that pay check you’ve been getting most of your adult life. If you’ve done a good job of planned your retirement in advanced you can be celebrating instead of worrying. While in retirement you can set new goals, one of might be to pay the smallest amount of federal income tax as possible. Is it possible to appear “poor on paper” yet live a comfortable lifestyle? Yes!
Here are some items for your consideration.
- Manage your 2014 tax bracket. For example, if you just started receiving Social Security this year, consider returning it and delaying payments till you are 70 ½. There is no penalty for doing this. Some of this will be taxable. This might give you a chance to live off savings (cash) while paying little if any tax.
- Contribute the maximum amount you can to an HSA account, this will provide a credit to your Taxable Income.
- If possible, maximize your deductible items such as medical expenses by getting those new eye glasses, dental cleaning and so forth this year instead of early next year. Consider prepaying your property taxes.
- One big issue can be stock market opportunities in your taxable account. With the recent volatility in the market consider selling stocks, ETF’s or fund’s with short-term losses. These losses can then offset gains. You can also carry forward a maximum of $3,000 into future years. Just make sure you watch out for a “Wash Sale” on stocks sold for a loss if you put this money back to work in the market. When you use a loss to offset a gain you also get the benefit of re-setting your “cost basis” for the stock. This will benefit you if you buy back and then sell this stock for a gain in the future.
- Also regarding your taxable brokerage account, try and maintain “qualified-dividend” stocks which get preferred tax treatment or no tax at all if you can find a way to stay in the 15% tax bracket. Keep in mind that if you are in the 10% or 15% tax bracket there is 0% tax on “qualified dividends” and Long Term Capital Gains.
- If you’ve done a good job being “poor on paper”, you can also convert some of your IRA into a Roth IRA. Just keep an eye of your plan so that you don’t jump into a higher tax bracket.
- If you hold Equity Mutual Funds watch for the December “Distribution Date”, consider selling before that date if a large capital gain is expected. Otherwise you will be surprised by paying tax on a distribution you don’t actually get (the fund price, in theory is lowered by the distribution amount).
In a future post I’ll provide a plan for postponing your Social Security and various options.