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Retire Wise | February 2024

Retire Wise | February 2024

February 13, 2024

6 Things to Know Before Filing Your Taxes

Taxes have a direct impact on the amount of money you keep, which is especially important for taxpayers in or nearing retirement. Keeping more money working for you begins with understanding the tax-savings opportunities available to you and what’s changed from the prior year, before filing your 2023 returns.

  1. The standard deduction increased. The standard deduction is a fixed dollar amount that taxpayers who do not have enough qualified deductions to itemize on their returns can use to reduce their taxable income. For tax year 2023, standard deduction amounts are $13,850 for individuals and $27,700 for married filing jointly. Taxpayers who are 65 and older or blind get an additional standard deduction in the amount of $1,850 for single or head of household, and $1,500 per qualifying individual for married filing jointly or a qualifying surviving spouse.1
  2. Income limits for tax brackets are adjusted for inflation each year. Tax brackets define the range of incomes subject to a specific tax rate, based on your filing status. They are adjusted annually for inflation to help prevent “tax creep.” So, if your income has not increased from the prior tax year, you may not experience a change in your overall tax rate. Note that not all income is taxed at the same rate. Visit for tax brackets and rates based on your filing status.2
  3. April 1 is the deadline to take your first RMD to avoid a penalty. If you turned 73 in 2023 and did not take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from traditional retirement accounts, you have until April 1, 2024 to take your first RMD or face a 25% penalty on any undistributed funds. Roth accounts are not subject to RMDs.3
  4. You may owe taxes on Social Security. Up to 50% of your benefits may be taxable if your combined income, defined as one-half of your benefits, plus all of your other income, including tax-exempt interest, is between $25,000 and $34,000 for individuals or $32,000 to $44,000 for married filing jointly. For individuals with income above $34,000, or married couples with income exceeding $44,000, up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable. Learn more at
  5. Don’t forget above-the-line deductions. These are deductions taxpayers can take even if they don’t itemize to further reduce the amount of income subject to taxes. They include early withdrawal penalties on CDs, alimony paid, and after-tax health savings account (HSA) and traditional IRA contributions. Visit or consult a tax professional for a full list.5
  6. If you plan to file an extension, keep in mind that any tax liability must be paid by the April 15, 2024 tax deadline to avoid penalties.

To learn more about these and other ways to manage income taxes, meet with a tax professional. If you have questions about tax-smart investment strategies, call the office to schedule a meeting.

1) Taylor, Kelley R., “What’s the 2023 Standard Deduction?”, 18 DEC 2023,
2) “Federal income tax rates and brackets.”, 23 JAN 2024,
3) “Retirement Topics — Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs).”, 20 APR 2023,
4) “Income Taxes and Your Social Security Benefit.”, Accessed 25 JAN 2024.
5) ”Waggoner, John, “8 Common Above-the-Line Deductions Anyone Can Claim.”, 29 MAR 2023.

Give Your Heart Some Love this Month

Taking care of your heart is important at any age, but especially as you grow older. That’s because your heart is a muscle, and like other muscles it can weaken over time. When that happens, it becomes harder to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. Fortunately, there are things you can do to not only reverse certain types of damage but prevent it in the first place.1 And there’s no better time to give your heart some love than during American Heart Month, which is celebrated annually in February.

8 ways to pump up your heart health
The American Heart Association has compiled the following list of “Life’s Essential 8” measures for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health to help lower the risk for heart disease, stroke, and other major health problems.2

  1. Add more whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, and seeds to your diet.
  2. Increase activity to reach the recommended 2 ½ hours of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week.
  3. Quit tobacco. The use of inhaled nicotine delivery products (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and vaping) is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
  4. Get healthy sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night to promote healing, improve brain function, and reduce the risk for chronic diseases.
  5. Manage weight. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the weight range that’s considered healthy for you and tips to help you achieve and maintain your goal.
  6. Control cholesterol. High cholesterol contributes to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. That’s why it’s important to have your cholesterol tested regularly, so you know your levels.
  7. Manage blood sugar. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use as energy. Over time, elevated levels can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
  8. Keep blood pressure in check. Keeping your blood pressure within acceptable ranges can keep you healthier longer. Healthcare professionals can provide recommendations for managing it over time.

In 2024, American Heart Month is focused on the impact of heart disease on women. According to the CDC, nearly half of U.S. women do not recognize that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. For resources, information, and ways to get involved in community events, volunteer opportunities, CRP classes, and more during American Heart Month, visit the American Heart Association at

1) ”What Happens to Your Heart as You Age?”, 7 APR 2023,
2) “Life’s Essential 8.”, Accessed 29 JAN 2024.
3) “American Heart Month 2024 Toolkits.” Accessed 29 JAN 2024.

This information was written by KRW Creative Concepts, a non-affiliate of the broker-dealer.

This communication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific legal, tax, or other professional advice. For specific professional assistance, the services of an appropriate professional should be sought. For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal advisor. Neither Cetera firms nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.