RMDs: When You Must Take Them

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

RMDs: When Do I Have to Take One?

Required minimum distributions are a fact of life for traditional IRAs. The rules are complex and they've recently changed.

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The rules on when retirees must take required minimum distributions (RMDs) changed as of Jan. 1, 2020, thanks to the SECURE Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2019.

Under the old rules, anyone with money in an IRA was forced to take RMDs after turning age 70½. Those rules still apply to those who had turned 70½ by the end of 2019.

For anyone who hadn't turned 70½ by then, the SECURE Act now delays those required distributions until after reaching age 72.

Here are a few key points to understand:

  • If you were born before July 1, 1948, you were already taking RMDs before the SECURE Act went into effect, and that continues unchanged going forward.
  • If you were born on July 1, 1948, through June 30, 1949, you turned 70½ in 2019, and you fall under the old rules. Your first RMD is due by April 1, 2020 (you get a little extra time to take your very first RMD). Your second one is due by Dec. 31, 2020. And then you continue to take RMDs by the end of each year going forward.
  • If you were born on July 1, 1949, or later, your first RMD is due by April 1 of the year after which you turn 72. Your second would be due by Dec. 31 of that same year, and then by Dec. 31 of each year thereafter.

For more on RMDs and how they changed under the SECURE Act, please see:

10 Ways the SECURE Act Will Impact Your Retirement Savings

5 Things Affluent Retirees Should Do Now that the SECURE Act Has Passed

Pros, Cons and Possible Disasters after SECURE Act