Ask Kim


Avoiding Required Minimum Distributions from Roth 401(k)s

Kimberly Lankford

You can avoid having to take RMDs from a Roth 401(k) by rolling it over to a Roth IRA.



I will turn 70½ in a few years. Is it true that I have to start taking required minimum distributions from my Roth 401(k)? Is there any way to avoid the withdrawals?

See Also: Minimum IRA Distribution Calculator

You generally do not have to take required minimum distributions from either a traditional 401(k) or a Roth 401(k) if you are still working for the employer that sponsors the plan. If, however, you are retired, you do need to take RMDs from either kind of account after you turn age 70½, although your Roth 401(k) withdrawals will be tax-free. The required withdrawals are based on the balance in your account at the end of the previous year and the IRS’s life-expectancy figure for your age. If you have Roth 401(k)s with several former employers, the RMD is calculated separately for each account.

You can avoid having to take future RMDs from a Roth 401(k) by rolling the money over to a Roth IRA. Roth IRAs are not subject to required minimum distributions. If some of your money is in a Roth 401(k) and some is in a traditional 401(k), roll the traditional 401(k) money into a traditional IRA and the Roth money into a Roth IRA to avoid any tax complications. “That will make record keeping a whole lot easier,” says Stuart Ritter, a certified financial planner with T. Rowe Price.

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.



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