Do I have to take money from my 401(k) or IRA in 2020?


Q. I usually take two Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). One is from a traditional IRA and the other is from a 401(k). In 2020, can I take from one and not the other?
— Retired

A. There are changes to Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) because of the CARES Act, which was passed into law in March 2020.

One of the key elements of this act was that it suspended RMDs for tax year 2020 for both 401(k)s and IRAs.

“This is a true `RMD holiday’ as it does not require people who choose to skip their RMD for 2020 to have to take two the following year,” said Michael Cocco, a certified financial planner with Beacon Wealth Partners in Nutley.

He said you are under no obligation to take an RMD from either your 401(k) or IRA for 2020, and won’t have to double up in 2021.

“However, you are still free to take distributions from one or both of those accounts as you wish, but keep in mind that it still would be taxed as ordinary income for tax year 2020 if you choose to do so,” he said.

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This story was originally published Oct. 1, 2020. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.