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Can we take from an IRA now and then skip future years?


Q. My wife is 67 and wants to take a distribution from her IRA for 2021 only, then skip taking one until the year she turns 72. Is that legal and how do we calculate how much she must take to conform with IRS rules?
— Husband

A. We’re glad you’re checking before making a move.

The simple answer is yes.

Your wife may take a distribution from a retirement account in 2021 and defer future distributions until age 72, said Ken Van Leeuwen, a certified financial planner with Van Leeuwen & Company in Princeton.

He said the current rules regarding Required Minimum Distributions for retirement accounts are applicable in the year you turn age 72, and then every year beyond that.

“You may take a distribution from a retirement account without penalty at age 59 ½,” he said. “You will be responsible for paying income tax on any distribution made from a retirement account.”

The IRS does not require any withdrawals before age 72, but it is your choice to take a distribution earlier, he said.

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This story was originally published on Aug. 25, 2021. 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.