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Tax brackets for couples have much more room for income than for singles.Let’s look at a 70 year-old couple and see what happens when a spouse dies.Most notable is the decrease in lime green, which is the reduction in income from social security when a spouse dies.The surviving spouse gets to keep the single, larger check form social security, resulting in a loss of income.
In the middle in lime green is taxable social security.
On the bottom is the baseline scenario without death of a spouse.
You can see their effective tax rate is about 8% and jumps up to 11% after TCJA expiration.
And on the top, in lovely orange, are fully taxable withdrawals from the IRA.
Contrast that with the top graph where a spouse dies at age 73.