Determining your income needs for retirement is no easy task. In terms of enjoyment, it is right up there with getting a root canal and filing your taxes. And at least with tax returns, there’s hope of a refund when you’re done.

Not so with retirement budgeting.

Once you have some figures laid out on paper, you get to present the budget to your spouse. That’s when you realize she actually was paying attention to you—and whatever toys you bought last year.

So you work through all that—the credit card bills and bank statements are marked and dog-eared—and it’s time to move forward. But wait: you both forgot about that trip to Disney. You already promised the grandkids you’d go. The new car can wait another year.

But it gets worse. Next year, the regime ends—you know, the tax regime. If Congress does what it’s known to do—nothing—then in 2013, taxpayers will pay their income rate on dividends. That’s a potential tripling of the current 15% rate.

The top rate for the “rich” (defined by President Obama as those earning $200,000 a year, or couples earning $250,000) will be 39.6%—add in the Obamacare tax of 3.8% and vanishing deductions, and you’re left with a 44.8% tax rate. Piling on state and local taxes where applicable means you’re looking at possibly 50% or higher. The “rich” will strive to make less.

That’s not exactly a formula for a thriving economy. Hold on to your dividend-paying stocks. They provide income—the cornerstone for any real-life budget.