Collect your IRA income now

Once you turn 70 1/2, you must start taking retirement plan withdrawals - or face a 50% penalty on the amount you should have taken out.  There are exceptions:  You can put off required minimum distributions from your current 401(k) if you are still working, and you never have to tap a Roth IRA.

You have until April 1 of the year after you turn 70 1/2 to take your first RMD.  Then the deadline is December 31.  But if you just turned 70 1/2, waiting until next April would mean two distributions in a year, which could push you into a higher bracket.  Instead, make your first withdrawal in 2015.

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