How To Withdraw From IRA In Retirement – A Step-By-Step Guide

by | Mar 29, 2023

Retirement is a time of financial planning and security when many retirees want to make the most of their adjusted gross income.

One way to make sure your money lasts while allowing you some flexibility is with an Individual Retirement Account or IRA.

But do you understand how to withdraw from your account? Knowing the details of IRA withdrawal can help ensure that you make the best decision for retirement.

In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide for withdrawing from an IRA during retirement and cover topics related to taking out money (including The 60-Day Rule and Mandatory Withdrawals) so that you can feel confident about how to prepare for withdrawals in retirement.

Rules For IRA withdrawal

Once you’ve attained the age of 59 1/2, it becomes possible to withdraw money from your IRA without incurring a penalty, provided that none of the specified exceptions apply to your particular situation.

You are not obligated to take this route, yet it is yours without any penalties if you require the money for your retirement. Income taxes will probably be due on any IRA withdrawals from a traditional IRA.

The 60-Day Rule

If you’re in desperate need of funds, one of the more hazardous methods to access your IRA assets temporarily without incurring taxes or penalties is attempting a 60-day rollover.

This process involves taking out money from an IRA and returning it within 60 days to avoid any penalties for early withdrawal.

It’s important to note that if you fail to return the funds within this period, you will be hit with hefty fines and must pay taxes on the withdrawn amount.

Thanks to an IRS rule, you can withdraw funds from your traditional IRA for any purpose and replace them within 60 days once in 12 months.

The full amount must be returned by the end of this time frame.

It is advisable to avoid the 60-day rollover unless there is an urgent matter or you are certain you will have sufficient funds (after taxes) to put back into your IRA.

If the money is not paid back within 60 days or not paid at all, taxes and penalties will be imposed on the full amount distributed.

The loss of tax-deferred growth and additional fees incurred make it typically unwise to choose this option.

Mandatory Withdrawals

From age 59 to 72, you must start taking minimum distributions from your IRA.

This means you must withdraw a specified amount each year, and failure to do so can result in hefty fines.

However, once you reach this age, you won’t be responsible for withdrawing any funds from your IRA. It is important to remember that these mandatory withdrawals only take effect later in life.

When it is time to withdraw your RMD, you can take more than the minimum amount.

However, be aware that this will result in higher taxable income for the year of withdrawal when considering your retirement withdrawal strategy.

The Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) is established to ensure that the income your account generates and the tax revenue the government receives from it is distributed in a way that produces a smoothing effect over time.

This regulation applies to all accounts and is calculated based on your life expectancy.

Withdrawing From Accounts In The Right Order

If you consider taking retirement savings from an IRA, 401(k), or Roth accounts to cover your expenses, don’t buy the promise of immediate gratification.

While a Roth IRA withdrawal will not be subject to taxes, you could lose out on greater returns in the long run.

Withdrawal from taxable retirement accounts should come first, and Roth IRAs should be untouched for as long as feasible.

If a 72-year-old individual withdraws $18,000 from their traditional IRA while in the 24 percent tax bracket, they must pay $4,320 in taxes.

However, no taxes will be due if the same amount is withdrawn from any Roth IRA account.

If the individual chooses to forgo the minimum withdrawal from their Roth IRA and earns 7% per annum over ten more years, the account will grow to $35,409.

The owner and any heir would not be subject to taxation if this money is withdrawn from the Roth.

Know How To Take Distributions

Suppose you have had several different jobs and acquired multiple retirement accounts.

As a result, the time has now come to determine how to access the funds associated with these accounts.

As you approach retirement age, you must decide on an efficient method to withdraw your money from each account promptly.

If you possess multiple traditional IRAs, consolidating them may be more advantageous by transferring the assets from each account into one IRA.

By taking this route, you could make just one withdrawal from that consolidated account rather than withdraw separately from each IRA.

By consolidating your IRAs into one account, you can save yourself the hassle of paperwork, calculate future withdrawals more quickly, and better handle how you allocate your assets.

You must refrain from taking out money from an IRA to satisfy the RMD requirements of a 403(b), 401(k), or any other plan.

It is essential to recognize that 401(k) plans cannot be brought together to calculate a single RMD, according to GeoIt’sJones, managing editor of Wolterscan’ter Tax & Accounting.

These should be rolled over into an IRA to make the process easier.

“In Kind” Withdrawals

If you don’t want to part with your assets, taking out withdrawals in cash is simpler. However, that doesn’t mean you must do so.

Alternatively, an in-kind distribution may be a more suitable option for those who wish to retain their investments for different reasons – this type of withdrawal is made up of bonds or stocks.

You will be transferring the assets from your IRA into a taxable account.

This process is known as an in-kind withdrawal, requiring that the assets are appraised at their fair market value on the day of the move.

This valuation is important because it allows you to assess accurately any taxes you may owe due to this financial transaction.

An in-kind withdrawal from an IRA may be more practical and cost-effective than liquidating the securities within the account and purchasing them again through a brokerage.

By performing an in-kind withdrawal, investors can avoid incurring fees associated with selling their securities, thus saving them time and money.

Withdrawing From An IRA In Retirement

The amount of money you have in your IRA should serve as a reminder that having the proper plan for withdrawal is essential.

Withdrawing from an IRA in retirement doesn’t have to be stressful as long as the above steps are taken.

You must weigh your expenses now against what you might need later by meeting with your financial advisor and establishing a withdrawal plan that works best for you.

There are countless options for setting up withdrawals and deciding whether to use the funds or invest them in other accounts.

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your years of planning how you will navigate withdrawals during retirement.

With this comprehensive guide on withdrawing from an IRA during retirement, we hope you can maximize those savings while ensuring your golden years are secure and stress-free.


  • Scott Hall

    Scott realized about 5 years ago that he was woefully behind on retirement savings and needed to catch up. He began writing about it on

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