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Required Minimum Distributions for IRAs and 401(k)s

Kimberly Lankford

At age 70½, you must make withdrawals from your traditional IRA, but, if you’re still working, you can delay tapping your 401(k).



I turned 70½ this year but am still working. Do I have to take required minimum distributions from my IRA and 401(k) plan?

You must take required minimum distributions from your traditional IRAs after you reach age 70½, regardless of your work status. But you can delay tapping your 401(k) or similar employer-based retirement plan until after you stop working.

You have until April 1 of the year after you turn 70½ to make your first IRA withdrawal, but you must take your second required withdrawal by December 31 of that same year and annual distributions from your IRA by December 31 each year after that. Normally, you also must start taking annual distributions from your 401(k) once you reach age 70½, but if you continue to work, you can delay your first payout until you retire and take annual distributions from then on.

Your minimum distributions are based on your traditional IRA balance as of the end of the previous year and your life expectancy according to IRS tables. If you have several IRAs, your required withdrawal is based on the balance in all of your traditional IRAs, but you can withdraw the money from one or more accounts. (Roth IRAs do not have minimum withdrawal requirements.) You can always take more than the required minimum. For more information about required minimum distributions, see RMD FAQs.

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For 401(k)s, you must calculate the required distributions for each 401(k) separately and then withdraw the required amount from each account. You use the same IRS life expectancy figures as you do with IRAs. See IRS Publication 590 Individual Retirement Arrangements.

Your IRA administrator can generally help with the calculations, or you can estimate your RMD using our online tool Calculate Your Required Minimum Distribution.

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



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