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When do I have to take my first retirement distribution?


Q. I turn 70 next month and would like to know when I have to make mandatory withdrawals from my three IRA accounts. Also, can it all be taken from one account and the others left alone? Do I have to deplete them by a set date? One is a money market fund, one is in stocks and one is cash. I think I remember hearing the rules recently changed and I don’t want to make a mistake.
— Preparing

A. We’re glad you’re aware of the rules change.

If you make a mistake with your Required Minimum Distribution, it can be very costly.

RMDs from IRAs must be taken when the IRA owner attains age 72, said Gerard Papetti, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with U.S. Financial Services in Fairfield.

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, commonly called the SECURE Act, was enacted in December 2019. It changed the RMD age from 70 ½ to 72 for those reach age 70 ½ after Dec. 31, 2019, he said.

Therefore, you will be required to take your RMD upon attaining age 72.

Note that for the initial RMD year when you attain age 72, you can postpone the RMD to April 1 of the following year, Papetti said. But if you do postpone the initial distribution, you will be required to take another RMD by Dec. 31 of the following year, he said.

Papetti said if you own multiple IRAs, you can take your RMD from any one or more of the accounts. You are not required to take a partial RMD from each IRA account, he said.

RMDs are based on the owner’s life expectancy as provided in IRS Table III Uniform Life Expectancy and there is no age that your IRAs need to be depleted by, he said.

As you continue to age, your life expectancy is adjusted per Table III.

The current year RMD is calculated by taking the previous year’s Dec. 31 total balance of all traditional IRAs and dividing it by the distribution period for the owner’s age, he said.

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This story was originally published on Oct. 19, 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.