Required Distributions From Retirement Accounts

Eventually, you or your beneficiaries must take money out of your retirement accounts--and pay tax on it.

If you save and invest wisely, you can leave a substantial amount in an individual retirement account—but eventually you, or your beneficiaries, will have to start taking money out. And you (or your beneficiaries) will be in for severe financial penalties if you violate the rules.

Roth IRAs. There are no required distributions from Roth IRAs. As a result, a Roth IRA could contain a much larger amount at your death than a comparable traditional IRA or 401(k)—and pass that larger amount on without probate.

When Withdrawals Must Begin

The ideal scenario, in the eyes of the IRS, would be to have you exhaust the money in your retirement account at precisely the moment you breathe your last. That's why the IRS makes you start withdrawing money in your 70s, and why the amount of these required minimum distributions is tied to your statistical life expectancy.

Traditional IRAs. Distributions become mandatory the year you turn age 70

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