Retirement Planning

Minimum Required Distributions in Retirement

Minimum required distributions (MRDs) affect how much you need to withdraw from your retirement accounts each year after a certain age. Learn what accounts typically have these requirements and how to calculate your MRD.

What You Need to Know About Retirement Accounts and Minimum Required Distributions

When it comes to retirement planning, most of us find ourselves overwhelmed by information overload regarding various types of retirement savings accounts, and IRS rules and regulations. One such retirement account rule is minimum required distributions or MRDs. (Note:  This is also frequently referred to as an “RMD”, or Required Minimum Distribution.)

What does MRD mean?

MRDs are mandatory, minimum yearly withdrawals that must be taken out of retirement accounts in which you contributed tax-deferred dollars or have had tax-deferred earnings. The IRS requires you to begin taking out minimum required distributions from your accounts in the year you turn age 70½. While you can withdraw more than the RDM, you must take out the minimum amount or be subject to severe penalties.

Retirement accounts that typically require a MRD at age 70 ½ include:

  • Most 401(k)s

  • Most 403(b) plans

  • Traditional IRAs

  • Rollover IRAs


  • SEP IRAs

  • Most Keogh accounts

Calculating your MRD

The exact amount of your MRD can change from year to year, and is calculated by dividing your retirement account's year-end value by the life expectancy factor set by the IRS. You can calculate your MRD by using one of the IRS's worksheets, or an online calculator.

For more information on retirement accounts and retirement planning, visit the Protective Learning Center.

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