Public Service Announcement: RMDs

Just a reminder here to make sure you have taken your 2023 IRA RMDs, assuming you are of the age where that is required.

I post this because I almost forgot. I thought I had done it earlier in the year, but then remembered I hadn’t; I misremembered doing some transactions and sales and putting together a CD ladder - but on checking the history I realized I hadn’t done the RMD for the year.

So it’s done; make sure yours is too. Penalties for not doing it are off-the-chart horrible.


@Goofyhoofy -

Thanks for your PSA post. I still have a few more years until I’m 72 or 73 so I don’t need to do them yet, but I was under the impression that Fidelity has my IRA account and a Roth IRA account so I thought that they would “automagically” cut me the required distribution checks when I need to take them. Is that not accurate?


We don’t know. Only YOU can find out for yourself. Call today and find out !!

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How would they know how much to take as a distribution? Let’s say you have an IRA at Fidelity, and an IRA with Schwab, and a smaller IRA that you once invested with a mutual fund directly many decades ago, and an IRA HY savings account that you opened when there was a special offer a year or two ago. How would Fidelity know the total of all those IRAs to be able to multiple by the proper IRS age factor to determine the RMD amount?

Also, how would they know if you prefer to take it in January, in December, or monthly throughout the year? And how would they know that you didn’t take the distribution already from one of those other accounts?


Isn’t the RMD calculated as a percent of the account? If so, then the RMD for each account would be a separate calculation. I have been taking distributions from my conventional IRA for years. I remember one year, calling the company that holds the IRA to request the distribution, and the agent said they had not yet worked the formula to figure everyone’s RMD. (didn’t matter in my case as I am not that old yet*)


*started taking IRA distributions early to reduce the amount in the IRA, to reduce future RMDs, to stay in a lower tax bracket.

For 401k accounts, each account must have a distribution taken, and I presume that Fidelity would notify you about this if they are the custodian of your 401k. BUT, for IRAs, the rule is different. Each account has to be calculated, but the distribution can be taken from any one (or multiple) of them.,separate%20RMD%20from%20each%20IRA.

If you have more than one IRA, you must calculate the RMD for each IRA separately each year. However, you may aggregate your RMD amounts for all your IRAs and withdraw the total from one IRA or a portion from each of your IRAs. You do not have to take a separate RMD from each IRA.

Wouldn’t converting to Roth had been an even better choice? That way, not only do you reduce future RMDs and stay in a lower tax bracket, but you also reduce any future taxable income/gains on the money taken as a distribution.

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It is accurate, but YOU have to set up the dates and amount of taxes to be withheld. Mine are set up to occur on December 15th each year. If you don’t have a broker to talk to, call the Fidelity national number. I find them to be super helpful and they’ll walk you through it.


In retrospect, you are probably right. In retrospect, I should have converted to a Roth the moment that option was available, but I never imagined the stack would get to where it is. Recall, the original selling point of a conventional IRA was that, when you take the distributions, you will be in a lower tax bracket. Didn’t work out that way.



The odd thing is that eventually it very often doesn’t work out that way. Not so much because income goes up, but because exactly half of all married people have their spouse die at some point, and then get booted into the “single” tax brackets the next year often with substantially higher rates on their retirement income.

For example, take a typical couple, one spouse worked for 40+ years, the other spouse worked 10 years and then cared for kids+home. Between SS, a small pension, and savings they have $80-85k annual taxable income. They are in the marginal 12% bracket. One year, the other spouse dies, and suddenly the person is thrust into the 22% marginal tax bracket, and it isn’t only on a few thousand of income, it’s on tens of thousands of income (probably on close to $40k of it). A huge, and sudden, tax increase.


They can, but you probably have to give them permission to do that. Once you have given them permission, they will continue. Unless they don’t.

Which is why, as with all things, “trust but verify” applies. I would trust them to do the distribution, but I would also verify that it happens as scheduled.



Thanks for the constructive feedback. Of course I would check with Fidelity when it comes time for me to start to really think about it in detail - but I have another 5-6 years until then.

Some interesting points that I was unaware of though - that I can take the RMD from a single IRA account as long as I calculate the proper amount for the RMD across all IRA accounts.

I need to consider how to take the RMDs - one time, or periodic withdrawals.

I also need to consider having taxes withheld to reduce / eliminate the need for quarterly estimated payments.

When the time comes, it looks like I can set up the RMDs using Fidelity’s website and set it to happen automatically - but still make sure that they happen on time.

Thanks (just about) everyone for your responses.


One thought about taking RMDs from a single IRA that I had recently is that when the time comes (two years), I will be able to take our (wife and I) RMDs from one of my IRA accounts based on the total value of all my IRAs and my wife’s, but I have concluded that that is incorrect. I will have to take my RMDs from at least one of my IRAs and take my wife’s RMDs from at least one of my wife’s IRA accounts.

So calculating “two” separate RMDs based on two different sets of holdings and taking two separate RMDs from at least two IRA accounts with different registrations.


That is what my parents had to do. He had his RMD and she had her RMD. They each took it from their separate accounts.

Yes, that’s because of the “I” in IRA. It’s very important to understand this fact. You also need to calculate the RMD using each age separately. There is a weird exception to this rule (calculating RMD) if one spouse is 10 years younger than the other spouse and is the sole beneficiary on the IRA account … in that case, you can use joint life expectancy (which results in a lower RMD).

Sole beneficiary spouse who is more than 10 years younger.

If the sole beneficiary of your IRA is your spouse and your spouse is more than 10 years younger than you, use the life expectancy from Table II (Joint Life and Last Survivor Expectancy) in Appendix B.