How should I invest my required minimum distributions? (Retirement account)

A tax-advantaged retirement account, such as a 401(k) or a Roth IRA, has a catch You must withdraw a minimum amount annually after a certain age in order to prevent people from leaving their money tax-free for too long. However, some may wonder if the money can simply be reinvested right away. 

The answer is that you can immediately put the money you take out for required minimum distributions back in the market – as long as you do not use another tax-advantaged account. A financial advisor can assist you with retirement investments.

How Does A Required Minimum Distribution Work?

Retirement funds cannot be kept in your account indefinitely. The required minimum distribution addresses this issue.

A 401(k) or IRA is a tax-advantaged retirement account, and the IRS requires withdrawals once you reach the maximum age. The maximum age is:

You are 72 years old if you turned 70 after June 1, 2019;
You will turn 70.5 on June 1, 2019, if you were 70 before June 1, 2019.

At this age, you must begin making what the IRS calls “required minimum distributions,” or RMDs. The amount you withdraw cannot be less than this, even if you want to withdraw more. If you don’t withdraw this amount from your retirement account each year, you will be subject to tax penalties.

It’s because your withdrawals become part of your taxable income. Tax-advantaged retirement accounts allow you to defer a portion of your income until retirement, but eventually, the IRS wants the money. A minimum distribution ensures that you begin paying taxes on your retirement account at some point. According to the IRS’s website, required minimum distributions are required for the following accounts:

RMD What to know
RMD What to know
Traditional IRAs
401(k) plans
457(b) plans
403(b) plans
Profit-sharing plans
other defined-contribution plans

No minimum distributions are required for Roth IRAs. Only tax-advantaged retirement accounts are exempt from this requirement. As a result of paying taxes on your investment, you do not have to pay taxes to the IRS.

What Are Required Minimum Distributions?

The required minimum distribution varies from household to household and year to year. For the purpose of determining the required minimum distribution, the IRS’s Uniform Lifetime Table is divided by the account balance at the end of a calendar year. When the sole beneficiary is the owner’s spouse, who is at least ten years younger than the owner, a separate table is used.

It’s not as complicated as it seems. You follow these steps: Find your account balance as of Dec. 31 in the preceding year;

Your distribution factor is generally based on your age and decreases as you age; and
Divide your account balance by the distribution factor.

If you turn 70 after June 1, 2019, you will not have to take an RMD until age 72. 

Calculate your distribution factor using the following chart:

IRA Distribution Requirements Age Distribution Period 

We will use the following numerical values to describe the 70s: 27.4 71 25.6 73 24.7 74 23.8 75 22.9 76 22.0 77 21.2 78 20.3 79 19.5 80 18.7 81 17.9 82 17.1 83 16.3 84 15.5 85 14.8 86 14.1 87 13.4 88 12.7 89 12.0 90 11.4 91 10.8 92 10.2 93 9.6 94 9.1 95 8.6 96

For example, suppose you have $500,000 in your retirement account as of Dec. 31 and, according to the Uniform Lifetime Table, have a distribution factor of 25. Divide $500,000 by 25 to get a minimum withdrawal of $20,000 in this calendar year.

You must remember that required minimum distributions are calculated per account and per year. Therefore, it is necessary to calculate your required minimum distribution for each retirement account each year if you have multiple retirement accounts.

Is it possible to reinvest your required minimum distribution?

  • Your required minimum distribution can be reinvested in any account or asset that is not a tax-advantaged retirement account. 
  • With your RMD, you could, for example, purchase stocks, bonds, real estate, or any other financial asset. This money cannot be deposited into an IRA or 401(k). 
  • Roth IRAs are generally exempt from RMD requirements. The Roth IRA is the exception to this rule. If you are eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, you can do so with the required minimum distributions.
  • For all other portfolios except Roth IRAs, you can reinvest as long as you’re not getting a tax break from the IRS.
  • If you stopped taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) in 2022 because of the CARES Act, we hope you enjoyed your break and are ready to restart your retirement income strategy once again.
 required minimum distribution?
Required minimum distribution?
  • When planning for the future, you should consider your overall financial situation. If you just turned 72, you’re in the club because that’s the age at which you must begin withdrawing from most qualified retirement accounts, such as IRAs and 401(k)s (but not Roth IRAs), where you’ve saved pre-tax dollars.
  • You should consider RMDs as part of your retirement income plan, but you should be aware that they have strict timing rules and a formula based on your age for the amount you can take. After you turn 72, for example, you may not have to take RMDs from certain workplace accounts.
  • It is always possible for retirement rules to change in the future. The House Ways and Means Committee passed Securing a Strong Retirement (SECURE 2.0) in early 2021, and it is currently awaiting Senate consideration. The bill includes provisions to:
  • We are reducing the underpayment penalty significantly, raising the retirement age to 75 overtime, and increasing catch-up contributions for those over 60.
  • Legislation proposed by both parties would achieve several important reforms aimed at strengthening the private retirement system. However, timing and final details are subject to change as Congress prioritizes President Biden’s core legislative agenda.
  • Whatever happens, you’ll want to consider all your options and make sure not to miss any deadlines that could result in penalties.
  • The following questions can help you determine when and how RMDs should be applied to your assets if they are subject to RMDs.

How do I calculate and withdraw my RMDs?

  • We use our online calculator to determine the amount you need to take each year according to your age and your account balance at the end of the previous year.
  • Once you’ve calculated the appropriate amount for each year, you can choose to take your RMDs yourself. Some providers, however, also allow you to set up automatic withdrawals based on the same age and year-end account balance criteria, with the appropriate amounts computed and withdrawn by check or direct deposit on a schedule of your choosing.
Here how she calculate her RMD
Here is how she calculated her RMD
  • “Automating could keep you from having to pay penalties for forgetting to take your IRA distributions,” explains Matthew Kenigsberg, vice president of investments and tax at Fidelity.
  • The withdrawal deadline is important regardless of the withdrawal schedule. A taxpayer who fails to take their required minimum distribution or takes less than the required amount is subject to a steep penalty: 50% of the amount not taken on time. 
  • You must take your first RMD by April 1 of the year following your 72nd birthday and every year following. However, if you wait until April 1 of the year after you turn 72 to take your first RMD, you will be subject to two RMDs that year, and the additional income may have other tax consequences.

Taxes are withheld from RMDs, as they are treated as ordinary income. If you do not choose to do this, make sure you set aside money to pay the taxes. In the event of an under-withholding, you may be subject to a tax penalty. Is there anything I should do with my RMDs?

Withdrawals can be used in a variety of ways. These include:

Living expenses

A budget in retirement can be very useful if you plan to use RMDs to pay for current expenses. You can use the budgeting process to estimate living expenses, manage your cash flow, and determine whether your RMDs will have to be used to fund your retirement lifestyle.

New investments

Some retirees may be able to cover their expected expenses with Social Security and other income. You must take RMDs from your applicable retirement accounts even if you don’t need them to fund retirement spending. Although your RMD cannot be reinvested back into an IRA, you can invest in taxable brokerage accounts and then invest your RMD proceeds according to a strategy that fits your needs.

New investment

Wealth transfer to a loved one

  • Tax-smart ways to pass money on to your loved ones are available. Use the money you take for your RMD to fund a 529 college savings account to help someone get a head start in their education. If you have traditional IRA assets, you may also convert some of them to Roth IRAs, which can be inherited without incurring tax consequences. In this “Roth conversion” strategy, you will have to pay income taxes on the amount you convert, but you will not have to worry about required minimum distributions (RMDs) during your lifetime if you have a Roth IRA.
  • You have to take an RMD for the current year before you can convert to a Roth IRA-that is, Roth conversions don’t satisfy the RMD requirement, though you can use the RMD to pay the conversion taxes.
  • Converting to a Roth IRA requires taking an RMD for the current year. Roth conversions do not satisfy the RMD requirement, although you can utilize the change in the future, so you should stay up to date with the tax reform legislation.
Roth IRA
Roth IRA
  • You must take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) if you are over 72 before you can convert to a Roth IRA, so Roth conversions do not satisfy the RMD requirement. Estate planning professionals should be consulted before making any decisions on how to transfer money to heirs, as there are other ways, such as trusts and gifts.

Charitable donations

You have to take an RMD for the current year if you’re over 72 before you can convert to a Roth IRA-that is, Roth conversions do not satisfy the RMD requirement, although you can use 

You must take a required minimum distribution (RMD) if you are over 72 before you can convert to a Roth IRA, which means Roth conversions do not satisfy the RMD requirement, although you can deduct d from your gross income. These benefits may be available to you based on your income.

When you’re over 72, you have to take an RMD for the current year before you can convert to a Roth IRA. Roth conversions do not fulfill the RMD requirement; QCDs may be a useful alternative because they do not depend on itemization as other large charitable contributions do.

Most importantly, plan ahead.

When you are over 72, you must take a required minimum distribution (RMD) for the current year before you can convert to a Roth IRA. Hence, Roth conversions do not satisfy the RMD requirement, but you can use them for important financial goals. You should speak with a financial and tax professional about RMDs and your options to meet IRS requirements and prevent costly mistakes.

 Retirement Planning Tips

  • Putting money into your retirement account is a prerequisite for taking money out. With Smart Asset’s retirement calculator, you can find out exactly how much money you’ll need to save up for your ideal retirement, whenever that may be.
  • Your financial advisor can help you make decisions regarding your retirement savings and withdrawals.
  •  Assets match you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview these advisors at no cost to decide which one is right for you. Get started today if you are looking for an advisor who can help you reach your financial goals.


You can reinvest a required minimum distribution if you don’t put the money into a tax-advantaged retirement account. Otherwise, you can do whatever you want.


What can I do to avoid paying taxes on my RMD?

Use a Roth conversion to reduce RMD taxes. You can avoid required minimum distributions and associated taxes when you have assets in a tax-deferred account by converting tax-deferred assets into tax-free assets.

Is it better to take RMDs monthly or annually?

Monthly/Quarterly Withdrawals
There is no best way to handle this money as there is with annual distributions. However, some retirees prefer to take a lump-sum distribution every year. Others prefer smaller withdrawals each month. The choice is yours.

Is there a new RMD table for 2022?

For RMDs in 2022, it does not have the new tables. IRA owners will typically need the Uniform Table (Table III in Pub. 590-B). In addition, IRA holders whose spouses are over 10 years younger have a separate table, and IRA owners who inherit IRAs have another.

Is it possible to contribute my RMD to a Roth IRA?

If your RMD was less than $7,000, you could deposit all the money into your Roth IRA. However, if you contributed $4,000 to another IRA in the same year, you could place just $3,000 of your RMD into a Roth IRA. Account-holders cannot convert RMDs directly to Roth IRAs.