Many people spend their entire working lives building up retirement savings. But while the focus on retirement planning often centers around saving, there's less conversation around withdrawal strategies and how they relate to your taxes.
Most retirement plans have required minimum distributions, or RMDs. But what's an RMD, and how can it affect your retirement withdrawals? Here's what you need to know.
What's an RMD?
An RMD is the minimum amount of money you must withdraw from a tax-deferred retirement plan after you reach a certain age. You can
RMD rules changed in with Secure Act 2.0. Previously, you had to start taking your RMD at age 70½, but with the passage of the
The IRS made this change because people are living longer and, therefore, are drawing on retirement money for a longer time. The change also permits retirees to take a smaller RMD, allowing for money to stay and grow in their accounts for longer.
Which retirement accounts require RMDs?
Most—but not all—retirement accounts have RMDs, from
SEP, SIMPLEand traditional IRAs 401(k) plans, including Roth 401(k)plans 403(b) plans 457(b) plans
- Profit-sharing plans
defined-contribution plans, such as employee stock purchasing
* No RMDs required for Designated Roth Accounts (i.e. Roth 401k) beginning in 2024
RMD rules do not apply to
How do you calculate RMDs?
The amount of your annual RMD withdrawal is based on a formula created by the IRS.
To calculate your RMD, you'll need to divide your retirement account balance(s) as of December 31—adjusted for any outstanding transfers, rollovers and recharacterizations—by your life expectancy factor.
The IRS also offers worksheets for calculating your RMD depending on your unique circumstances. And if you have multiple traditional IRAs, an RMD must be calculated for each one. It's also important to note that whatever figure you calculate is the minimum amount you'd be required to withdraw—you can withdraw more.
The IRS allows account holders to withdraw the total RMD amount from one account or spread it across multiple qualifying retirement accounts. You can aggregate multiple IRAs and multiple 403(b)s but all other retirement account types must be satisfied separately.
Are there any tax considerations with RMDs?
Though IRAs and 401(k)s are pre-tax retirement accounts, it's possible to make nondeductible IRA contributions and after-tax 401(k) contributions. The rules around this can get complicated, so it's best to consult a financial advisor if you've made these contributions and need to calculate your RMDs.
You could also
Can you delay RMDs?
Yes, there are a few instances where you may be able to delay RMDs.
- If you're still working at age 72, you don't have to take an RMD from your current employer-sponsored retirement plan until you fully retire. The employer's retirement plan document must also allow for this delay.
- If you are the business owner and don't own more than 5% of your company, RMDs are not required unless your ownership increases to 5% or more, or until you retire. The employer's retirement plan document must also allow for this delay.
- If your savings are in a Roth IRA, RMDs are not required. However, if you are a beneficiary of a Roth IRA, have other retirement plan accounts, such as a previous employer plan, SEP, SIMPLE or traditional IRA, RMDs are required.
Penalties are a consideration if you forget to take out your RMD. With the passing of Secure ACT 2.0 the missed RMD penalty drops to 25% in 2023 and is dropped to 10% if fixed during the correction window.
Managing retirement withdrawals
Managing RMDs should be part of your retirement planning. If you're nearing retirement age, make your calculations using the IRS resources or work with a
You've worked hard to save for retirement, and you likely don't want to give up some of your savings to unnecessary penalties. Make sure you understand the RMD rules and deadlines and factor them into your retirement withdrawal strategy.
Taking these steps now could ensure you can truly enjoy every dollar you've saved for retirement.