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We all know we should not put all our eggs in one basket, but have you considered diversifying how things will be taxed? Many experts are predicting higher tax rates due to the large deficit, spending and unfunded liabilities. Join  Prism Insurance Agency as we’re joined by the author of The Power of Zero: How to get to the 0% Tax Bracket and Transform Your Retirement.

:04

 

JIM:  Many experts are predicting higher tax rates due to large deficit spending and unfunded liabilities such as Medicare and social security.  Joining us today is David McKnight author of The Power of Zero, How to Get to the Zero Percent Tax Bracket and Transform Your Retirement.  He’s going to share with us some of his strategies to get to the zero percent tax bracket before the possibility of higher tax rates becomes a reality.  Welcome David.

 

:30

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  Thank you, glad to be here.

 

:31

 

JIM:  It’s great to have you here; I’m really looking forward to our discussion today.  I know now that we’re not in an election cycle; there doesn’t seem to be any talk about the unfunded liabilities of social security and Medicare and I know with us right now as we’re recording this we’re just getting into tax season and I have a lot of clients come in where accountants seem to be focused on how can you eliminate any unnecessary taxes.  This year there’s not a lot of planning as far as future tax brackets.  Your book, The Power of Zero makes a pretty good case for being a little bit more forward thinking, especially when it comes to retirement planning, so talk to us a little bit about the title of your book, The Power of Zero, you explain as a subtitle states; How to get to the zero percent tax bracket and transform your retirement.  Why did you write this book?

 

1:19

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  I wrote the book because there’s a lot of evidence out there that comes from a lot of different experts that suggest that we are historically low tax rates and that mathematically speaking tax rates have to go up just to keep our country solvent.  As you mentioned Jim, there are a number of unfunded liabilities whether they be social security, Medicare, Medicaid liquidating the national debt that have to be paid for in order to be able to deliver on all these promises the federal government needs more revenue.  Essentially it’s all about the math.  Mathematically speaking tax rates have to go up or we’re not going to be able to deliver on all these promises.  The premise of the book is that if tax rates in the future are likely to be substantially higher than they are today what should we be changing about how we invest our money?  What should we be changing about the types of accounts into which we’re making deposits and continuing to grow and compound our assets.  So the premise of the book is essentially that if tax rates double and you’re at a zero percent tax bracket two times zero is still zero so really the only way to insulate yourself from the impact of rising taxes is to get to the zero percent tax bracket.

 

2:22

 

TONY:  When we’re talking to clients I know that we try and educate them a little bit about history and history can repeat itself, certainly in the tax area and I think some of us as you well point out in your book we kind of have become complacent with the reality that tax rates have been historically low for a long, long time; even though we still hear taxpayers complain they’re paying too much they have no clue.  If they go back to the 70s or the late 1940s when we saw federal tax rates 70 plus percent I generally when I educate clients of that I always wait for the jaw drop.  When we go back to the Carter administration we saw 70% maximum federal rates, even 94% back in 1948.  People just are in total disbelief and all I suggest to them is back then we didn’t have $17 trillion of debt and so if the government can raise rates to those levels in the past generally to deal with war and other things can they get there again?  Likely.  It’s getting to that zero tax bracket in retirement is really a possibility for many of those who are listening.  Why do you think David the average person hasn’t heard about this before?  Is it something brand new?

 

3:26

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  No, as recently as 1997 Bill Clinton got up in front of the nation in the state of the union and said look, I’m here to tell you that the national debt is simply zero.  Even as recently as 1997 it wasn’t foremost in our thoughts this idea that we have debt that’s spiraling out of control.  It wasn’t on the tips of the tongues of the politicians that we had these unfunded liabilities because back then it wasn’t causing the national debt to grow and spiral out of control.  If you look at how much debt is compounded just in the last 10 years alone it’s enough to take your breath away.  I think that this is something that we’ve been weaned on this idea that we’re going to be in a lower tax bracket in retirement than we were during our working years and we’ve been putting money into 401(k)s and IRAs and SEPs and SIMPLEs for as long as we can remember because we’ve been told by all of the big financial gurus that when you retire you’re going to be in a lower tax bracket than you were during your working years and mathematically speaking it’s simply not the case.  All of the deductions that you experienced during your working years are likely to phase out right at the moment when you need them the most which is when you retire and this idea that the government mathematically can’t deliver on its promises unless it raises substantially more revenue than its planning on raising at the current moment; it’s starting to come to more of the forefront because political experts like David Walker and Lawrence Kotlikoff and other economists are looking at the tea leaves and they’re saying the country simply can’t honor all of its promises without raising taxes and I think that one of the things that really struck me in a particular way was a few months ago when we had the debt ceiling crisis and I was watching CNN and in the upper left hand corner of the screen it says we default on our national debt in 23 minutes.  Okay.  I think this was telling because it tells us how as a government we do crisis management.  We tend to deal with these things right on the night before at the 11th hour.

 

5:10

 

JIM:  You know a couple of these things that they really don’t talk about; they keep talking about the national debt and they don’t include the unfunded liabilities like pensions in the states where we heard all these problems with pensions in the states as a liability.  That liability isn’t showing up on the national debt.  The unfunded liabilities are Medicare and social security.  The numbers can be much greater if you try to include that in.  The other thing that you talk about too with higher tax rates, even if tax rates stay the same; we had a guest on not so long ago where we talked about legacy planning for a surviving spouse.  You talk about a lack of deductions, a lot of times we see a significant increase in the taxes owed for a surviving spouse because those brackets get compressed in a single bracket and a lot of times they might be in a 10% bracket, all of a sudden they’re in 25% because a spouse has passed away so there’s a lot of issues that may affect people even without congress acting.

 

6:02

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  Sure, and the other thing that people forget about is if you die with money in your 401(k) if you’re getting ready for retirement right now and you have a lot of money in your 401(k) you’re thinking, hey I would like to spend some of it but I’d also like to pass some onto the next generation.  Well, when are you likely to pass that money along?  It’s probably 20 to 30 years from now at a period in time when your children are likely to be in a much higher tax bracket than they are right now at the peak of their earning years and so it’s not just when the money passes to the spouse, it’s when the money passes to the next generation and the one thing that we know is that unless you have an estate problem if your money is in tax free accounts you’ll pass that on 100% tax free at a point in your children’s live when they will probably need the help because they will likely be at a much higher tax bracket than they are today.

 

6:42

 

TONY:  The bottom line is we have done this long enough; we’ve seen lots of wealth transfer and as much as all the gurus talk about the stretch IRA and the ability to stretch over life expectancies beneficiaries today especially the generation now receiving wealth from the greatest nation of savers tends to be more of a spender and many times they consider taxation but they want it lump sum so they can kind of do what they want and so the theory of stretch makes sense but the reality is most beneficiaries want it now because they have other plans and that’s the tragedy and IRS wins in that scenario.  You mentioned David Walker, just to kind of go back to the real math of this thing, just so our listeners understand we can say taxes are likely to go up, but let’s go back to the David Walker testimony I guess or his opinion; just walk us through that and his credibility and why it’s important for Americans to understand it’s likely to happen.

 

7:38

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  Right.  I think it is important to understand the background of David Walker because it speaks to the credibility.  First of all David Walker, he likes to say he’s in the CPA hall of fame.  He was the comptroller general of the US government for 10 years under two presidents, Bush and Clinton which means that he’s more of a centrist; he’s apolitical.  He tends to tell it like it is.  He was on the board of social security for seven years; he was the chief auditor.  He was a person whom the congress and president were responsible and accounted for all their spending for 10 years.  More than anyone else on the planet he understands the math behind all the nation’s debt loads and what we’ve promised and what we can’t afford to deliver.  He took one look at the books and he said look, we have to double tax rates and for every year that tax rates don’t double the national debt will grow an average by $3 trillion per year every single year until it tops out at about $53 trillion.  He said that’s a unique number because if we have $53 trillion of debt all of the revenue coming in at that point will only be enough to pay the interest on all that debt not to mention social security, Medicare, Medicaid, anything like that.  David Walker he wrote a book called Come Back America and a few years ago he appeared on NPR talking about that book.  He suggested to the Post that tax rates would have to double and he was so incredulous that he began to challenge that assertion.  He says look, I can give you a four-letter word to explain why tax rates have to double.  He couldn’t guess what it is.  They opened up the phone lines and no one calling in could guess what it is.  People said wars, debt, kids or what have you and he says look, the four-letter word is math.  Math is the reason why tax rates have to double.  I remember I was giving a workshop in Fond du Lac Wisconsin two days before the midterm elections in 2009 and afterwards everyone came up to me and said Dave, Dave, Dave, who should we vote for.  I said it doesn’t matter who you vote for because whoever gets elected is going to inherit a math problem, the solution to which involves either double taxes, reducing spending by half or some combination of the two.  So David Walker I think has been a very strong advocate for; he was the CEO of the Peter Peterson Foundation.  A lot of people have seen the movie IOUSA; he’s the person that made that movie.  In that movie he talks about the math behind our nation’s spiraling debt loads and unfunded liabilities.

 

9:42

 

TONY:  Well listen I think that this segment of the show we’ve definitely established that we’ve probably got a headwind coming in the tax area.  Let’s take a quick break but when we come back let’s focus on some of the solutions.  It’s great to talk about the problems but ultimately our job in counseling people is show them solutions.  Please stay tuned.

 

BREAK

 

10:09

 

TONY:  Welcome back as we continue a conversation today on the Power of Zero, how to get to the zero percent tax bracket and transforming your retirement which is the book authored by David McKnight who is our guest today.  Prior to the break we were talking about basically establishing how tax rates likely will go up in the future and that’s a pretty credible reality I think that’s coming, but now let’s talk about some of the solutions.  Ultimately a person listening thinks sure how do I get to a zero percent tax bracket in a rising tax environment.  Start to share with some of our listeners the tools that you outline in your book.

 

10:42

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  Sure, in my book I basically boil down all investment accounts into three basic types of accounts.  There are millions of different ways to invest your money but for all intents and purposes from a tax perspective there are only three basic types of accounts.  From a tax perspective if you want to be at the zero percent tax bracket you have to have the perfect amount in each of those buckets.  The first bucket we talk about is the taxable bucket.  These are investments that we’re all familiar with, savings accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, so and so forth.  Generally speaking you don’t want to have too much money in this bucket and the reason is because it has all sorts of unintended consequences for your tax bill and your tax rates down the road.  Generally speaking we want to have only about six months’ worth of basic income needs in this bucket.  This is a number that is actually the one number that most financial experts can agree upon, is that you should have basically six months’ worth of money and so one of the things that we talk about is that if you have too much money in this bucket all of the growth on these accounts counts as provisional income which is the type of income the IRS keeps track of to determine if your social security is going to be taxed and so we’re very, very cognizant of how much money we have in this bucket because it can prevent you from ever being in the zero percent tax bracket.  Now if you have too much money in this bucket there are some things that you can do to reposition those assets into tax free.  One of the ones that I talk about in the book which is actually my favorite is the Roth IRA.  A lot of us are familiar with Roth IRA.  I define true tax free investments in the following way:  There is basically a two-pronged litmus test.  The first litmus test is it’s got to really be tax free.  When I talk tax free I’m talking free from federal tax, free from state tax and free from capital gains tax.  Roth IRA so long as you’re 59- 1/2 qualifies on all counts.  The second litmus test that I bring up is when you take distributions from your true tax free investment it cannot count as provisional income.  It can’t be anything that contributes to the thresholds that cause your social security to be taxed.  Roth IRAs in my estimation are one of the best tax free investments out there because it qualifies in both counts. 

 

Sometimes notwithstanding all of our efforts Roth IRAs because they do have income limitations and because they do have contribution limits it can be tantamount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  For example if you have $300,000 in your taxable bucket you can’t shift money at $6500 a year per person into Roth IRAs and really have an impactful difference.  One of the things that is surprising to a lot of people is that life insurance contracts can be structured in such a way so as to mimic a Roth IRA.  A lot of people don’t realize that first of all historically when people look at life insurance they try to get as much life insurance as they can for as little money as they possibly can spend and that’s what we call term insurance.  That’s historically how most people buy life insurance.  What we’re doing here with life insurance is we’re trying to buy as little life insurance as we possibly can and stuff as much money into it as the IRS allows us to.  When you do that the section of the IRS tax code that governs life insurance says that you can grow that money tax deferred and when you take it out, if you take it out the right way you can take it out tax free.  A lot of people in an effort to get money out of the taxable bucket and into the tax free bucket are structuring life insurance policies so as to mimic Roth IRAs.  The one thing that we know about life insurance policies is they don’t have contribution limits and they don’t have income limitations.  They can be treated like Roth IRAs from a tax perspective but they don’t have the same constraints or limitations as a Roth IRA.

 

14:07

 

JIM:  One thing I’ve got to emphasize here at this point when you use the word life insurance I see the crosses coming out and stay away, that’s an evil thing but life insurance is what it is.  I think it’s the most misunderstood of the products and services that we deal with with clients because of a lot of misconceptions.  If people focused on what it does; now you just talked about we can put potentially unlimited amounts of money in, we can grow it without taxes and we can pull it out tax free if we structure it right.  If we told people that’s what the investment is and never use life insurance people would probably be buying it in droves, but as soon as they hear the term they panic.  What do you say to those people?

 

14:45

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  We actually hear that a lot because people have been weaned or indoctrinated on this idea that life insurance is a horrible investment and investments are horrible life insurance and that’s the idea that we’ve been weaned on without realizing that companies over the years have reengineered these products so as to mimic Roth IRAs and the thing that I tell people that they have to remember is that look, you don’t have to like life insurance, you don’t have to like life insurance companies, you just have to like them a little bit more than you like the IRS because ultimately someone’s getting your money.  Either the IRS is getting a huge chunk of it or a life insurance company is getting a much smaller piece of it.  The good news is that you’re actually getting something useful in exchange for the money the life insurance company is getting and that’s a death benefit that also in many cases qualifies as long-term care in the event that you should need it because of a long-term care event before death.

 

15:31

 

TONY:  I think that’s the real area that there is that misconception is if I’m buying life insurance it’s really for my beneficiaries after I’ve died.  Well that has been the traditional purpose of buying life insurance especially with term vehicle that you mentioned but the cash value component gives you that opportunity to accumulate cash and then distribute it during a lifetime so the insured can benefit from their insurance policy before they pass away if it’s structured with the right intent.  The fact that you mentioned insurance companies have re-engineered these because they are cash accumulation vehicles certainly for an element of our successful earners and savers in America today that aren’t even eligible to put into a Roth IRA unless it’s through their employer’s 401(k) because of income limitations that you mentioned.  You really need to sit down with someone who understands it and doesn’t have that preconceived notion about how life insurance should only be for death benefit; it can also be for accumulation. 

 

16:31

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  We really like to get into the math of it.  I think that emotion is a terrible way to buy life insurance.  I think that if someone is going to suggest that you use life insurance as an accumulation tool they have to prove it with the numbers.  They have to make the case mathematically that you’re going to be further ahead by putting money into life insurance than you would by wherever you were planning to put the money otherwise and that’s why I say look, if you’re going to use life insurance and it’s going to be competitive and push you further ahead than where you’d otherwise be it has to be structured in the right way.  Ideally you want those expenses on average over the life of the program to average about 1.5%.  Now in the first year it’s not going to be 1.5%, it’s going to be higher but those expenses inside the program stay relatively stable over the life of the program so if you put $10,000 in the first year and it cost you $1500 for the cost of insurance well guess what the way these things are structured 20 years from now it would be unusual to have that life insurance expense still be $1500 but at that point maybe you have $100,000 in there so now that $1500 represents only 1.5% of the overall bucket and I tell people all the time whatever road you take in life somebody’s making 1.5%.  The question is what are you getting in exchange for your 1.5%.  In 401(k)s and IRAs you might have a mutual fund manager or an insurance company if it’s an annuity that is making that 1.5%.  In a life insurance contract the insurance company is making that 1.5% but you’re actually getting something useful in exchange for that 1.5%.  In many cases that can be long-term care or a death benefit.

 

18:00

 

JIM:  You know I’ve personally been taking advantage of Roths and IRAs and now recently we’re able to do it in the 401(k)s as well but with the life insurance that’s something I personally took advantage of too and when I see a lot of people the mistake you just talked about long-term outlook, I see that where it works and one of the big advantages I’ve found in the life insurance and having different buckets and having the diversification is from time to time when the kids were born and I wanted to; they grew up and wanted to send them to Catholic school we needed money for tuition; didn’t always have the money laying around.  I could have taken out of my retirement account, paid penalties but the nice thing about the life insurance I was able to take that money out and then later on replace it and do all that without any tax consequence which made it a great tool as time went on.  Now my IRAs accumulated better in those earlier years because like you talked about the early years there is higher expense on the life insurance contracts but having both those tools as my disposal have helped me as I’ve gone along and I haven’t reached retirement yet but I don’t know where tax rates are going and I’ve always thought it’s a good idea to have money in different buckets but most people that we come across they have everything for now and they haven’t had the foresight to look at later when tax rates might be much higher and use some of these tools.

 

19:20

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  That’s a great point Jim.  One of the things that I’ve seen from people that try to position life insurance with their clients is they sing the praises of life insurance to the exclusion of everything else.  They say 401(k)s, IRAs, even Roths have all these problems and the real solution is life insurance, a properly structured life insurance policy.  I think this is a mistake because there is no perfect investment out there.  They all have positives, they all have negatives.  When you read my book the one message that you come away with is that when you reach retirement you want multiple streams of income, none of which show up on the IRS’s radar but all of which contribute to you being in a zero percent tax bracket because frankly the

Roth IRA has benefits that a properly structured life insurance policy does not have.  Roth 401(k)s have benefits that Roth IRAs don’t have and Roth conversions have benefits that traditional Roth IRAs don’t have and certainly a properly structured life insurance policy has benefits that Roth IRAs don’t have.  There is no perfect investment but the one thing that we do know is if you have multiple streams of income at retirement, all of which are tax free then you get one additional stream of tax free income and that’s your social security which I make a big deal about in the book because the average person ends up paying between $5000 to $8000 of tax on their social security.  Let’s just pick the number $8000.  If you have an $8000 hole in your social security how do most people plugging that hole?  Well they typically take more money out of their other accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s.  If tax rates went up to 50% how much money would you have to take out of your IRA to plug that $8000 hole in your social security?  $16,000.  So what we’ve found when we do the math and we’ve done the math hundreds of different times for hundreds of different clients is that when your social security gets taxed you run out of money five to seven years faster than the person who does not have their social security taxed.  The reason that is is because you have to spend down all of your other assets to compensate for that taxation.

 

21:11

 

TONY:  I always talk about automatic income and how that shows up on the tax return versus what I would say discretionary income because you control it.  For example, social security, you don’t want to turn that away so that’s automatic income that’s coming in no matter what as long as of course you’re alive.  Pensions which we know are kind of becoming dinosaurs and things of the past for the upcoming working generation but our retirees who still have the benefit of that are of course going to continue to collect that as long as possible and show that on their tax return but if they need income above social security and pensions to meet their lifestyle if they use all the tools that you’ve talked about, the Roth, Roth IRA, the 401(k), the life insurance approach now they’re in control of keeping that automatic income in the lowest possible bracket, it may not be zero if they have a handsome pension but likely because household security is favorably taxed if you handle things right then when you take out those other dollars from those tax free buckets like you’ve said it doesn’t impact provisional income by not getting a 1099.  I always challenge clients to look at your budget or your cash flow, determine what you need on your lifestyle needs to cover that and then look at your 1099s.  Is that generating more than you need to live on because if it is then it’s unnecessarily taxing that automatic income.

 

22:30

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  That’s exactly right.  I’m glad you brought that up because a lot of people do have pensions but as you said correctly they’re becoming more and more scarce, they’re becoming the dinosaurs and we’re not seeing them among the younger generation but here’s a reality if you have a pension it’s all provisional income and it will almost guarantee that your social security will be taxed so now generally speaking 85% of your social security becomes taxable.  If you think of the American tax system as a cylinder, a graduated cylinder from chemistry class right; your money goes in, goes all the way down to the bottom, some of your money gets taxed at 10, some at 15, some at 25, some at 28, some at 33, some at 35 and now some at 39.6.  If your pension and your social security is now taxable any additional money that you take out of your IRAs or 401(k)s in retirement will flow into that cylinder and land right on top of all your other income and be taxed on the margin most likely at at least 25% or whatever the equivalent of the 25% tax bracket is in the future.  One of the things that we challenge people to do is to really take a look at where tax rates are headed because shifting money out of IRAs and 401(k)s into the tax free bucket can be done while taxes are on sale at historically low tax rates.

 

23:39

 

JIM:  Now one other thing that should be considered too because I know I’ve gotten this question a lot of times; what if rates change?  These are great deals.  Surely congress is looking at it.  I think that’s just another reason why people want to be diversified.  How do you answer that?

 

23:52

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  What if tax rates change?

 

23:53

 

JIM:  Well if you look at the items of Roth IRAs I’ve had a lot of people tell me, well they’re just going to tax them in the future so I might as well take the deduction now and they’re predicting what’s going to be taxed, what’s not.  I think they might be ignoring grandfathering and things like that . . .

 

24:08

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  Sure.

 

24:09

 

JIM:  How do you answer that?

 

24:10

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  I had this question asked just last week at a workshop I was giving and basically historically the IRS has always taxed you either on the seed or the harvest.  In the case of a 401(k) they tax you on the harvest, meaning you get a deduction when you put the money in but they tax the money when it comes out.  In the case of a Roth IRA they tax you on the seed but the harvest is tax free.  To suggest that somewhere down the road they will tax you on both the seed and the harvest would invariably get more than a few politicians kicked out of office.  This is completely changing the trajectory of how retirement plans have been understood and treated for tax purposes so as we slowly slide into insolvency as a country I think that everything is on the table but I would be shocked if they took the approach where they tax you on both the seed and the harvest.  If they were to do that; if history serves as a model they would likely grandfather whatever money you had in your Roth IRA but just disallow any further contributions.  That is one distinction that the life insurance or life insurance retirement plan has is that historically when they’ve changed the rules on these types of accounts and they’ve done so in 1982, 1984 and 1988 they’ve simply said whoever has these buckets before the rule changes gets to keep it and to continue to put money into it under the old rule for the rest of their lives and we call that a grandfather clause.  I think that certain types of accounts are grandfather clause friendly and others may be less so but I think that’s the reason why you have multiple streams of income because you don’t want to put all your eggs in any one legislative bucket.

 

25:40

 

TONY:  The reality of course change could be in the future so educate yourself now on these techniques and fill them as fast as you can because retirement is creeping up every day and some of these tools because of contribution limits like the Roth or even the 401(k) Roth that has limited contributions per year so if you want that bucket to build and in many cases catch up or surpass what you’ve already funded in your pretax bucket you’ve got to get started.  If you only have 10 or 15 years left of work you need to get the balance in those buckets and have the time for that to accumulate to really benefit you over time.

 

26:17

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  Right, and nobody has a crystal ball.  We all try to read the tea leaves to the best that we can but all of the math seems to suggest that tax rates don’t have to go up until about 2023.  In other words congress can continue to kick the can down the road for another 9 or 10 years okay, but after 2023 if tax rates don’t go up we start to default on national debt and ask Russia what happened in 1998 when they defaulted on their national debt.  What I try to tell my clients is that look, we’ve got about 10 years to get our assets repositioned and get them off the train tracks as it were and into a safe account and every year that passes where we fail to take advantage of historically low tax rates is potentially a year on the back end where we’ll have to pay taxes at much higher levels on the IRS’s terms.

 

27:04

 

TONY:  I have to have to cut us short with our program but we have so much more we could cover but let’s maybe wrap up with just the importance of not doing this by yourself.  The importance of working with someone who is not just an accumulation type advisor but somebody who really focuses on the distribution side.  Many advisors can help you grow your assets but find those who specialize in income distribution planning that also has significant tax knowledge.  You want to comment on that?

 

27:30

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  Absolutely.  I think that it’s important if one of your goals is to have a tax friendly retirement to deal with someone who’s been down that road before.  In my mind there really are two types of paradigms out there, one is kind of an old antiquated paradigm that says look, put money into your 401(k)s and IRAs, get a tax deduction and then pay tax at a lower rate when you take the money out.  That’s increasingly less feasible given where tax rates are probably headed.  There’s another paradigm that says look, we recognize that tax rates in the future will likely be higher than they are today, how can we transition all of those dollars that you’ve accumulated over all those years into accounts that will be treated in a more tax friendly way and so I think it’s important to not try to go down this road alone because there are so many pitfalls.  The whole path to the zero percent tax bracket is fraught with peril.  Take Roth conversions for example; you can convert Roth IRAs in the wrong way.  The idea with Roth conversions is that you want to convert these dollars slowly enough that you don’t rise dramatically into a higher tax bracket but do it quickly enough that you’d get all the heavy lifting done before tax rates go up for good.  There are a lot of different pitfalls that can happen along the way so I would just encourage if someone is interested in getting to the zero percent tax bracket that they consult a financial advisor that has experience in doing so.

 

28:44

 

TONY:  Great advice.  The final thing is just tell our listeners how to get the book.

 

28:47

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  The book can be found on Amazon, so just go to the Amazon.com and punch in the Power of Zero, David McKnight and it’ll pop right up.

 

28:54

 

TONY:  Excellent.  David, we could again probably go on for hours and will likely have you back in the future as the landscape of tax planning is going to become more and more important.  Thanks for joining us today.

 

29:04

 

DAVID MCKNIGHT:  Thanks for having me.

 

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https://www.myprisminsurance.com/retirement_plans/retirement_review.aspx


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