Putting RMDs to Work
When you’re over 70 ½ and have a retirement plan you have to start taking money out of the plan (with rare exceptions). But even if you remember to take annual RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions) you could use help preparing for and managing the process. This includes reinvesting RMDs you don’t need immediately for living expenses.
It isn’t as simple as “Here’s your RMD, now go take it.” Baby Boomers often retire with IRA and 401(k) balances instead of the defined benefit plans their predecessors often had. And the rules are often complicated. Take the retiree who has an IRA and a 401(k) that he left behind with a previous employer.
Many are surprised to learn that they have to take separate RMDs on their 401(k) and their traditional IRA. RMDs must be calculated separately and distributed separately from each employer-sponsored account. But RMDs for IRAs can be aggregated, and the total can be withdrawn from one or multiple IRAs. That’s one of the reasons that advisors suggest rolling your 401(k) into an IRA when leaving an employer for a new job or when retiring.
Steep penalties apply. The failure to take a required minimum distribution results in a penalty of 50% of the RMD amount.
According to a 2016 study from Vanguard, IRAs subject to RMDs had a median withdrawal rate of 4% and a median spending rate of 1%. For employer plans subject to RMDs, the median withdrawal rate was 4% and the median spending rate was 0%. A mandatory withdrawal doesn’t mean a mandatory spend. Most retirees don’t need the income they are required to take from their plans. As a result the money usually goes right back into an investment account.
If you have an investment account that is designed for your risk tolerance and goals, the money coming out of your retirement account should be invested so as to maintain your balanced portfolio.
For questions on this subject, please contact us.