# How to calculate your required minimum distributions (RMDs).

If you are the owner of an IRA, 401(k), or other qualified retirement plan, there are three things you probably know about RMDs:

1. RMD stands for required minimum distributions.
2. You have to do something about RMDs by the time you turn age 70½.
3. You could be in trouble with the IRS if you don't do it right.

Does that sum it up? If so, you’re not alone. RMDs are one of the least understood components of a retirement plan, and frankly, one that many of us don’t give much thought to until we have to.

#### A brief summary.

What are required minimum distributions? In a nutshell, they are the minimum amount of money that a person must withdraw from a retirement account each year, generally starting at age 70½. In general, RMD rules apply to the following plans:

• 401(k)
• 403(b)
• 457(b)
• SEP
• SIMPLE IRA

RMD rules do not apply to Roth IRAs—as long as the original owner remains alive. After that, a surviving spouse will need to include them in his or her calculations.

#### Lets get started.

To calculate RMDs on a retirement plan, take the end-of-year balance and divide it by a life expectancy factor determined by the IRS. The life expectancy factor, or “Distribution Period” as it is also called, is based on your age and can be found online at www.irs.gov/publications/p590/indes.html.

Note: There are three tables to choose from, so be sure to select the one that applies to you. For the purposes of this article, let's use the Uniform Lifetime table:

Age Distribution
Period
Age Distribution
Period
Age Distribution
Period
Age Distribution
Period
70 27.4 82 17.1 94 9.1 106 4.2
71 26.5 83 16.3 95 8.6 107 3.9
72 25.6 84 15.5 96 8.1 108 3.7
73 24.7 85 14.8 97 7.6 109 3.4
74 23.8 86 14.1 98 7.1 110 3.1
75 22.9 87 13.4 99 6.7 111 2.9
76 22.0 88 12.7 100 6.3 112 2.6
77 21.2 89 12.0 101 5.9 113 2.4
78 20.3 90 11.4 102 5.5 114 2.1
79 19.5 91 10.8 103 5.2 115 and over 1.9
80 18.7 92 10.2 104 4.9
81 17.9 93 9.6 105 4.5

#### For example.

Using this table, you can see that a 70-year-old taking RMDs for the first time would divide a \$200,000 balance by 27.4.

 \$200,000 27.4 \$7,299.27

#### Important considerations.

If you want, you can always withdraw more than the minimum, but remember that you will pay regular income taxes on any amount withdrawn. It's also important to know that RMDs must be calculated for every qualified retirement plan you own.

 IRA 1 (Wife–Age 70) \$200,000 27.4 \$7,299.27 IRA 2 (Husband–Age 72) \$100,000 25.6 \$3,906.25 401(k) (Husband–Age 72) \$300,000 25.6 \$11,718.75 Total RMD \$22,924.27

This can become an administrative nightmare, which explains why so many retirees consolidate their retirement plans before age 70.

#### Taking distributions.

While the IRS requires you to take your RMDs by the end of the calendar year, how you do it is completely up to you. Most plan administrators give you the option of monthly, quarterly, or annual withdrawals. IRA and 403(b) owners have the option of withdrawing their total RMD amount from one or more plans; however, 401(k) and 457(b) participants must withdraw their RMDs from each plan separately.