As much as you would like to, you can’t keep your money in your retirement account forever.

These investment vehicles include 401(k)s, IRAs, and similar retirement accounts.  Under the SECURE Act, once you reach age 72, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from your 401(k), IRAs, or other defined contribution plans in most circumstances. Withdrawals from your 401(k) or other defined contribution plans are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty.

Another major change that occurred from the SECURE Act is the removal of the age limit for traditional IRA contributions. Before the SECURE Act, you had to stop making contributions at age 70½. Now, you can continue to make contributions, as long, as you meet the earned-income requirement.

How do you determine how much your RMD needs to be?  The Uniform Lifetime Table can help for most people.

Keep in mind that this article is for informational purposes only, and the table below is meant to provide some guidance. The table is neither a recommendation nor a replacement for real-life advice. Always contact your tax, legal, or financial professional before making any changes to your required minimum distributions.

Uniform Lifetime Table (additional ages can be found on IRS.gov)

Age DistributionPeriodAge DistributionPeriodAge DistributionPeriodAge DistributionPeriod
72 years old25.680 years old18.788 years old12.796 years old8.1
73 years old24.781 years old17.989 years old12.097 years old7.6
74 years old23.882 years old17.190 years old11.498 years old7.1
75 years old22.983 years old16.391 years old10.899 years old6.7
76 years old22.084 years old15.592 years old10.2100 years old6.3
77 years old21.285 years old14.893 years old9.6  
78 years old20.386 years old14.194 years old9.1  

You can use the following formula to calculate a rough estimate of your RMD:

  1. Determine the year-end balance of your account.
  2. Find your age on the table and note the distribution period number.
  3. Divide the total balance of your account by the distribution period. For example, say you’re 72, and your account balance is $100,000. Your RMD may be about $3,906, based on the table.

Calculating your RMD isn’t tricky, but understanding your RMD’s role in your overall retirement strategy can be complicated. It’s important to note that penalties can apply if you don’t follow the mandatory distribution guidelines. A financial professional is an excellent resource for guidance.

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