Key Findings

  • More Americans have an accurate understanding of how lottery winnings are taxed (94%) than the mainstays of their retirement income: Social Security benefits (39%), traditional IRAs (35%), Roth IRAs (31%) and 401(k) plans (29%).

  • When asked to choose which activity they dislike the most, respondents say that doing taxes (23%) is almost equally as disliked as the unpleasant experience of going through airport security (29%). In fact, getting a flu shot is preferable to doing taxes for many middle-income Americans over age 50. Only 6% ranked flu shots as their most disliked task.

Many middle-income Americans age 50 and older have significant gaps in their understanding of how federal taxes will impact their retirement finances. In fact, they know more about how lottery winnings are taxed than the mainstays of their retirement income.

Adults aged 50 and older in this income bracket could face negative tax implications as they near and enter retirement. Among other consequences, they risk incorrectly estimating future income from their retirement accounts, paying penalties on withdrawals, missing allowable deductions and other consequences.

With its newest study, Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement looks at the impact of taxes and tax knowledge on Americans’ retirement finances.

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