When do I have to start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from my retirement account?  You would think this is an easy question to answer, but as new rules go into effect, the age keeps changing.

The History of RMDs

Since 1986, the age one was required to begin taking RMDs was set at 70 ½.  Then the SECURE Act was signed in December 2019, raising the age for RMDs from 70 ½ to 72.  As we adjusted to this new age, Secure Act 2.0 came along in 2022 and extended the age two more times to 73 and 75.  Ultimately, this has made things a little more confusing for individuals who just want to know when they have to begin taking distributions from their retirement accounts.

It all depends on your birthdate.

  • If you were born before July 1, 1949: The 70 ½ rule still applies to you. You should be taking your RMDs every year. The SECURE Act and Secure 2.0 did not change anything.
  • If you were born between July 1, 1949, and December 31, 1950 (including those dates): Age 72 applies. Keep taking RMDs. (The SECURE Act changed the age from 70 ½ to 72. Secure Act 2.0 does not change this.)
  • If you were born from 1951-1959: At age 73 you are required to take RMDs as a result of Secure Act 2.0.
  • If you were born in 1960 or later: At age 75 you are required to take RMDs thanks to the Secure Act 2.0.

Delaying Your First RMD

You can face penalties for missing an RMD deadline, so there is a little leeway built in to allow some extra time for taking your first distribution and getting used to the process. Using your date of birth as your guide for your starting age, your first RMD must be taken by April 1st of the following year.  Regardless of whether you delay taking your first RMD to this date or not, you must take your second RMD by December 31.

If you have any questions about how the new tax laws impact you or when you need to begin taking your RMDs, please contact us.