IRA Mandatory Withdrawal at 72

  1. Home
  2. Gold IRA
  3. IRA Mandatory Withdrawal at 72

Understanding IRA Withdrawal Rules: Mandatory Distribution at Age 72 Explained

A mandatory withdrawal from an individual retirement account (IRA) is a required minimum distribution that an individual must take from their IRA account once they reach a certain age. This is a taxable distribution that the account holder is required to take annually from their IRA, based on their account balance and life expectancy.

The mandatory withdrawal for IRAs begins at different ages depending on the type of IRA account.

  1. Age 72 for Traditional IRAs: For traditional IRAs, the mandatory withdrawal must begin by April 1 of the year following the year in which the account holder turns 72.
  2. Age 70 ½ for Roth IRAs: Roth IRAs have a different age requirement for mandatory withdrawals which is 70 ½. The account holder must take their first mandatory withdrawal by April 1 of the year following the year in which they turn 70 ½.

There are a few exceptions to the mandatory withdrawal rule. These include:

  • Qualified Charitable Distributions: Individuals who are 70 ½ or older can directly transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA to a qualified charity without paying income taxes on the distribution.
  • Inherited IRAs: Inherited IRAs have different rules for mandatory withdrawals based on the relationship of the beneficiary to the original account holder.
  • Roth IRAs: Roth IRAs do not have mandatory withdrawals during the original account holder’s lifetime.

Not taking the mandatory withdrawal can result in a penalty of 50% of the amount that should have been withdrawn. This penalty is in addition to the regular income tax that must be paid on the distribution.

The amount that an individual must withdraw from their IRA is based on a calculation called the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). This calculation takes into account the account balance, age, and life expectancy of the account holder.

Factors that can affect the amount of the RMD include changes in the account balance, changes in the account holder’s age, and changes in the life expectancy tables.

There are different options for taking the mandatory withdrawal. These include:

  1. Lump Sum Withdrawal: The entire RMD amount can be withdrawn at once.
  2. Periodic Withdrawals: The RMD amount can be divided into equal periodic withdrawals throughout the year.
  3. Automatic Withdrawals: The IRA custodian can automatically distribute the RMD amount from the account.

It is important to understand the rules and requirements for mandatory withdrawals from an IRA to avoid penalties and ensure proper management of retirement funds. Consulting with a financial advisor or tax professional can also provide guidance on the best strategy for taking the mandatory withdrawal.




Key Takeaways:


  • A mandatory withdrawal from an IRA is a required distribution of funds from the account starting at a certain age.
  • The mandatory withdrawal age is 72 for traditional IRAs and 70 ½ for Roth IRAs.
  • Exceptions to the mandatory withdrawal include qualified charitable distributions, inherited IRAs, and Roth IRAs.


What is a Mandatory Withdrawal from an IRA?

A mandatory withdrawal from an IRA refers to the requirement for individuals to begin taking distributions from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) once they reach the age of 72. These withdrawals, also known as Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), serve the purpose of ensuring that retirees start utilizing their retirement savings and paying taxes on those funds. The amount of the RMD is determined by factors such as the account balance, life expectancy, and applicable IRS guidelines. It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the rules and deadlines associated with RMDs in order to avoid potential penalties. It is always recommended to seek guidance from a financial advisor for personalized and tailored recommendations.

When Does the Mandatory Withdrawal Begin?

For many individuals, an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a crucial part of their retirement plan. However, it’s important to understand that there are certain rules and regulations that come with these accounts. One of these is the mandatory withdrawal, or Required Minimum Distribution (RMD), which must begin at a certain age. In this section, we will discuss when this mandatory withdrawal begins for both traditional and Roth IRAs, and how it may impact your retirement savings.

1. Age 72 for Traditional IRAs

At the age of 72, traditional IRAs require mandatory withdrawals known as Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). Here are the steps to take for this:

  1. Evaluate RMD calculation: Determine the RMD amount using IRS tables and your account balance at the end of the previous year.
  2. Consider factors affecting RMD: Account balance, life expectancy, and beneficiary status can all influence the RMD amount.
  3. Set withdrawal method: Choose from lump sum, periodic withdrawals, or automatic withdrawals.
  4. Ensure compliance: Understand your responsibilities as an IRA owner and beneficiary, and seek assistance from IRA resources if needed.

Just when you thought you could retire in peace, Uncle Sam reminds you the government always wants its cut – even from your Roth IRA at age 70 ½.

2. Age 70 ½ for Roth IRAs

  • Roth IRA owners who reach the age of 70 ½ are required to begin taking mandatory withdrawals.
  • To initiate the withdrawal process, contact your Roth IRA custodian or financial institution.
  • Provide the necessary information, including your account details and personal identification.
  • Use the IRS guidelines to determine your required minimum distribution (RMD) amount.
  • Choose the withdrawal method that best fits your needs, such as a lump sum, periodic withdrawals, or automatic withdrawals.
  • Be sure to withdraw the correct amount each year to avoid penalties.
  • Keep track of your withdrawals and report them on your tax return.
  • For guidance throughout the process, consult with a financial advisor or tax professional.

Just remember, donating all your IRA money to charity won’t get you out of taking that mandatory withdrawal.

What Are the Exceptions to the Mandatory Withdrawal?

Once you reach the age of 72, the IRS requires you to start taking withdrawals from your traditional IRA accounts. However, there are certain exceptions to this mandatory withdrawal rule. In this section, we will discuss three exceptions that allow you to delay or avoid the mandatory withdrawals. First, we will look at qualified charitable distributions, which allow you to donate a portion of your withdrawal directly to charity. Then, we will explore the rules for inherited IRAs, which have different withdrawal requirements. Finally, we will examine the unique case of Roth IRAs, which are not subject to mandatory withdrawals during the account owner’s lifetime.

1. Qualified Charitable Distributions

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD) allow individuals aged 70 ½ or older to donate up to $100,000 directly from their IRA to a qualified charity. Here are the steps to take for a QCD:

  1. Contact your IRA custodian to ensure they allow QCDs.
  2. Determine the amount you wish to donate to the charity.
  3. Provide the necessary information to the charity, including the IRA custodian’s name and address.
  4. Instruct the IRA custodian to distribute the funds directly to the charity.
  5. Keep records of the QCD for tax purposes.

In 2019, a retired couple made a QCD from their IRA to support a local animal shelter. Their contribution helped provide food, shelter, and medical care for abandoned animals in their community, making a significant impact on the organization’s work. The couple felt a sense of fulfillment knowing they were able to make a difference through their IRA funds and support a cause they cared deeply about.

Inherited IRAs – a way to keep getting money from your family, even after they’re gone (unless they were smart enough to disinherit you).

2. Inherited IRAs

Inherited IRAs require specific steps to navigate the mandatory withdrawal process:

  1. Identify if you are a spousal or non-spousal beneficiary.
  2. For non-spousal beneficiaries, it is important to start taking distributions by December 31st of the year following the original IRA owner’s death.
  3. Determine whether you want to take distributions over your life expectancy or within a 10-year period (non-spousal beneficiaries only).
  4. Calculate the required minimum distribution (RMD) based on your life expectancy or the 10-year rule.
  5. Withdraw the RMD amount from the inherited IRA each year.

In 2009, Congress passed a law allowing non-spousal beneficiaries of inherited IRAs to take distributions over their life expectancy, providing more flexibility for withdrawals. This change aimed to accommodate the unique needs and financial situations of inherited IRA recipients.

3. Roth IRAs

Roth IRAs have different rules for mandatory withdrawals compared to traditional IRAs. Here are the steps to understand Roth IRA mandatory withdrawals:

  1. Understand the age requirement. The mandatory withdrawal age for Roth IRAs is 70 ½.
  2. Know the exceptions. Roth IRAs do not have mandatory withdrawals during the lifetime of the original account owner.
  3. Consider inherited Roth IRAs. Beneficiaries may be subject to mandatory withdrawals based on their own specific circumstances.
  4. Be aware of penalties. Failing to take the mandatory withdrawal from a Roth IRA can result in a penalty of 50% of the amount that should have been withdrawn.
  5. Consult with a financial advisor. They can provide guidance on the specific withdrawal rules for Roth IRAs and assist with the necessary calculations.




What Are the Penalties for Not Taking the Mandatory Withdrawal?

Not taking the mandatory withdrawal from an IRA at age 72 can result in penalties and tax consequences. The penalties for not taking the required minimum distribution (RMD) include a 50% excise tax on the amount that should have been withdrawn. This means that if the RMD is $10,000 and it is not taken, the penalty would be $5,000.

It is important to carefully plan and ensure compliance with RMD rules to avoid unnecessary penalties and tax liabilities. Seeking guidance from a financial advisor or tax professional can provide helpful suggestions and ensure compliance with IRS regulations.

How Much Money Do I Have to Withdraw?

As you approach your 72nd birthday, you may be wondering about the mandatory withdrawal from your IRA. This section will cover the important details surrounding this requirement, specifically focusing on the amount that must be withdrawn from your account. We will discuss the calculation for the required minimum distribution and the various factors that can impact the RMD amount. By the end, you will have a clearer understanding of how much money you are required to withdraw from your IRA at age 72.

1. Required Minimum Distribution Calculation

Calculating the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) for your IRA is a simple process. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Obtain your IRA balance as of December 31st of the previous year.
  2. Identify your age using the IRS life expectancy tables.
  3. Divide your IRA balance by the life expectancy factor corresponding to your age.
  4. The resulting quotient is your RMD for the year.

Fact: The RMD ensures that individuals gradually withdraw from their IRAs to fund their retirement while taking into account their life expectancy. Because let’s face it, there’s nothing more fun than calculating your mandatory withdrawal and factoring in your age, account balance, and life expectancy.

2. Factors That Affect the RMD Amount

The RMD amount is determined by several factors that can influence the calculation. Here are the steps to consider when determining the RMD amount for your IRA:

  1. Account balance: The total value of your IRA account at the end of the previous year is a crucial factor.
  2. Life expectancy: The IRS provides tables to determine the distribution period based on your age. The older you are, the shorter the distribution period.
  3. Beneficiary status: If you have a non-spouse beneficiary, their life expectancy is taken into account. This can affect the RMD amount.
  4. Multiple IRAs: If you have multiple IRAs, you can calculate the RMD separately for each account or aggregate the amounts.
  5. Other factors: Any changes to account balances or circumstances during the year may impact the RMD amount.

How Do I Take the Mandatory Withdrawal?

As you approach the age of 72, it is important to understand the mandatory withdrawals that must be taken from your IRA (Individual Retirement Account). These withdrawals, also known as required minimum distributions (RMDs), are necessary for tax purposes and can impact your retirement income. In this section, we will discuss the different ways you can take your mandatory withdrawal, including lump sum withdrawals, periodic withdrawals, and automatic withdrawals. Each option has its own considerations and benefits, so let’s dive in to find the best approach for you.

1. Lump Sum Withdrawal

To make a lump sum withdrawal from an IRA, follow these steps:

  1. Consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to fully understand the implications and tax consequences.
  2. Determine the desired amount to be withdrawn.
  3. Contact your IRA custodian or financial institution to initiate the withdrawal.
  4. Complete any necessary paperwork or forms required by the custodian.
  5. Provide the required information, including your account details and identification.
  6. Specify whether you would like the withdrawal to be sent via check or direct deposit.
  7. Confirm and review all details of the withdrawal before finalizing the transaction.
  8. Monitor your account to ensure that the funds are successfully transferred.

Don’t worry, these withdrawals won’t happen every month like your bills do – unless you’re lucky enough to have a fat IRA.

2. Periodic Withdrawals

Periodic withdrawals from an IRA allow you to regularly take distributions to meet your financial needs. Here are the steps to follow for making periodic withdrawals from an IRA:

  1. Assess your financial situation and determine the necessary amount for periodic withdrawals.
  2. Seek advice from a financial advisor to ensure your withdrawals align with your retirement goals.
  3. Contact your IRA custodian or financial institution to request the desired periodic withdrawals.
  4. Provide all required information, including the withdrawal amount and frequency (e.g., monthly, quarterly).
  5. Make sure to fulfill any necessary documentation requirements and provide any additional information requested.
  6. Monitor your account to ensure the withdrawals are being processed accurately.
  7. Periodically review your withdrawals to ensure they continue to meet your financial needs and make adjustments as needed.

3. Automatic Withdrawals

Automatic withdrawals are a convenient way to ensure compliance with the mandatory withdrawal requirement for IRAs. Here are the steps to set up automatic withdrawals:

  1. Contact your IRA custodian or financial institution to inquire about automatic withdrawal options.
  2. Provide the necessary information, such as your account details and the desired withdrawal frequency (e.g., monthly, quarterly).
  3. Specify the amount you wish to withdraw automatically each time.
  4. Authorize the custodian or institution to initiate the automatic withdrawals.
  5. Ensure that your account has sufficient funds to cover the automatic withdrawals.

By setting up automatic withdrawals, you can eliminate the need to manually request withdrawals each time, making it easier to meet the mandatory withdrawal requirement.




Other Important Information

In addition to understanding the mandatory withdrawal requirements from an IRA at age 72, there are other important aspects to consider. As an IRA owner, there are certain responsibilities you have in managing your account, and as a beneficiary, there are certain actions you may need to take. Luckily, there are resources available to help you navigate through these responsibilities. Let’s take a closer look at the IRA owner and beneficiary responsibilities, as well as the available resources for IRA assistance.

IRA Owner Responsibilities

IRA owners have certain responsibilities when it comes to mandatory withdrawals. Here are some important steps to follow:

  1. Stay informed about the rules and regulations regarding mandatory withdrawals as an IRA owner.
  2. Calculate and determine the required minimum distribution (RMD) amount accurately.
  3. Ensure that the RMD is taken by the deadline, which is usually December 31st of each year.
  4. Choose the withdrawal method that best suits your needs, whether it be a lump sum, periodic withdrawals, or automatic withdrawals.
  5. Maintain proper documentation and records of the withdrawals for tax purposes.
  6. Seek professional advice or guidance if needed to navigate the complex rules and avoid penalties as an IRA owner.

IRA Beneficiary Responsibilities

As a beneficiary of an IRA, it is important to fulfill certain responsibilities. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Notify the custodian or trustee of the IRA account owner’s passing.
  2. Provide the necessary documentation, such as a death certificate and your identification, to the custodian.
  3. Determine your distribution options based on your relationship to the deceased (spouse or non-spouse).
  4. Understand the regulations regarding Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for inherited IRAs.
  5. Calculate and withdraw the RMD amount each year based on your life expectancy.

Pro-tip: It is recommended to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to ensure that you fulfill all of your responsibilities as an IRA beneficiary and make well-informed decisions regarding your inherited IRA.

When it comes to IRA help and resources, just remember: don’t withdraw too much, but don’t withdraw too little, and definitely don’t withdraw in pennies.

IRA Help and Resources

When it comes to navigating the complexities of mandatory withdrawals from IRAs, IRA help and resources are essential. Here are some key resources to consider:

  1. Financial Advisors: Seek guidance from certified financial advisors who specialize in retirement planning to ensure compliance with withdrawal rules and maximize financial benefits.
  2. IRS Publications: The IRS offers resources like Publication 590-A and 590-B, which provide detailed information on IRA rules, exceptions, and calculations.
  3. Online Tools: Utilize online calculators and tools provided by financial institutions and retirement planning websites to determine required minimum distributions and explore withdrawal options.
  4. IRA Custodians: Contact IRA custodians or administrators for assistance in understanding and executing the mandatory withdrawal process.
  5. Retirement Planning Websites: Explore reputable retirement planning websites that offer educational resources, articles, and forums where individuals can find answers to common questions and connect with experts.

By utilizing these IRA help and resources, individuals can confidently navigate the mandatory withdrawal process and make informed decisions regarding their retirement savings.


The Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) is a mandatory withdrawal from an IRA at age 72, which ensures that individuals begin taking taxable distributions from their retirement accounts and pay the appropriate taxes. Failing to take the RMD can result in penalties, so it is important to plan and account for these distributions.

In 2019, John, a retired teacher, utilized his RMD to supplement his retirement income and pursue his passion for traveling after carefully calculating the amount and consulting with his financial advisor. Thanks to the RMD, John was able to comfortably enjoy his retirement years and explore new destinations around the world.




Frequently Asked Questions

What is the mandatory withdrawal from an IRA at age 72?

The mandatory withdrawal from an IRA, also known as a required minimum distribution (RMD), is a minimum amount that must be withdrawn annually by individuals who have reached the age of 72 (or 73 for those turning 72 in 2023) from their traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, and other qualified retirement plans. This is a mandatory distribution required by the IRS to ensure individuals do not outlive their retirement savings.

How is the distribution amount for RMDs calculated?

The distribution amount for RMDs is calculated using the account balance and life expectancy, as defined by the IRS. The IRS provides RMD tables, such as the Uniform Lifetime Table, to determine the distribution period in years based on age. For example, at age 78 with an IRA balance of $100,000, the RMD would be $4,545.45.

When is the first RMD due?

The first RMD must be taken by April 1 of the year after turning 72 (or 73 in 2023). However, it is recommended to take the first distribution by the end of the year in which the account owner turns 72 to avoid having to take two RMDs in the same year.

Are RMDs considered taxable income?

Yes, RMDs are considered taxable income and must be reported on the individual’s tax return. The amount of tax owed will depend on the individual’s tax bracket and other factors.

What happens if an individual misses taking their RMD?

If an individual fails to take their RMD in a timely manner, they may be subject to a penalty of up to 50% of the required amount. The missed distribution must be reported on the individual’s tax return and may be subject to additional taxes.

Can RMDs be taken from multiple retirement plans?

Yes, RMDs must be calculated separately for each retirement plan, but they can be combined and withdrawn from one or more plans. This can make it easier for individuals to manage their RMDs and avoid penalties for missed distributions.

Scroll to Top