Order's important when tapping into assets -- USA Today
I'll throw out for you one idea not in the article, useful if you have built up your investments nicely, and are blessed with substantial money in taxable, tax-deferred, and even tax-free (Roth IRA) accounts. What follows is of course directed at US readers.
You can tweak where you take the money from to legally play the tax code like a violin, in other words, minimize your taxes. For example, you could take out money up to the top of the 15% tax bracket from your 401(k) or traditional IRA -- these distributions are taxed as ordinary income; than take additional money from the taxable account at long-term gains rates on the portion that is LT gains; finally, even a bit more from the Roth when you have to. All of this bearing in mind the relative amounts you have to work with, and avoiding depleting any one of the three types of sources unduly. Cool, huh? Not always very easy to execute, but the concept is powerful., and it beats a simple-minded "hit the taxable account until it's gone, then the IRA/401(k), then last, drain the Roth" approach. I am an IAR and have my own RIA firm, and am not a tax practitioner now, so before using this or anybody else's neat ideas, you be certain to check out what your own tax adviser says.
Investing: Order's important when tapping into assets - USATODAY.com