News and Community
News and Community

What You Need to Know About Required Minimum Distributions [RMDs]

Retirement is a significant milestone in life – a time when you can finally enjoy the fruits of your labor and pursue your dreams without the constraints of a full-time job. However, to make the most of your retirement years, it's essential to plan and prepare adequately.

One crucial aspect to retirement planning is Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). Understanding RMDs is essential for maintaining your financial security during your golden years. By the end of this article, you'll know what Required Minimum Distributions are, who needs to take them, how to calculate them, the consequences of not taking them, and who you can turn to for advice.

What Are Required Minimum Distributions [RMDs]?

Required Minimum Distributions, or RMDs, are IRS-mandated withdrawals from certain retirement accounts, including Traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, and similar tax-deferred retirement accounts. The primary purpose of RMDs is to ensure that individuals who have been benefiting from tax-deferred growth in these retirement accounts start withdrawing and paying taxes on a minimum amount each year. RMDs prevent individuals from indefinitely deferring taxation on their retirement savings.

When do RMDs begin?

These yearly withdrawals typically begin when you reach a specific age, but there are some exceptions depending on when you were born. According to the IRS, you typically start taking RMDs starting April 1 of the year following the calendar year in which you reach age 72 [73 if you reach age 72 after Dec. 31, 2022].

How Are RMDs Calculated?

RMDs are calculated annually based on the account balance at the end of the previous year and your life expectancy, as determined by IRS life expectancy tables. The formula to calculate your RMD is:

RMD = Account Balance ÷ Life Expectancy Factor

This means that the older you are, the higher your RMD will be, reflecting the idea that you have fewer years left to draw down your retirement savings.

A handy calculator to help you determine your RMD can be found on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website.

What Happens If You Don't Take Your RMDs?

Failing to take your RMDs can have serious consequences. If you miss a distribution or withdraw less than the required amount, you could be subject to a hefty penalty. If you neglect to take your RMD, the IRS imposes a 50% excise tax on the amount you were supposed to withdraw. For example, if your RMD was $10,000, and you only withdrew $5,000, you would owe a $2,500 penalty to the IRS.

Consult Your Tax Advisor

A tax advisor can help you tailor an RMD strategy that aligns with your unique retirement goals and circumstances. There are some special considerations that you can discuss with your tax advisor, such as the particulars of beneficiaries, multiple retirement accounts, rollovers, inherited accounts, change in marital status, and death of account owner. 

Talk to a Banker About Your Account

Farm Bureau Bank® gives you access to a dedicated team of knowledgeable bankers that can assist you with your account inquiries. As a Farm Bureau Bank Traditional IRA accountholder, you will receive a RMD reminder notice and a year-end IRA statement that provides a summary of your IRA activity throughout the year, along with the Fair Market Value of the IRA which is used to calculate the next year’s RMD. 


Required Minimum Distributions are a critical element of retirement planning that should not be overlooked. Navigating the rules and regulations surrounding RMDs requires careful consideration and often benefits from professional advice. By understanding the timing, calculation, and potential strategies for managing RMDs, individuals can make informed decisions to ensure a financially secure and enjoyable retirement.

Tags:   personal finance, savings