Living in retirement

Taking your required minimum distribution (RMD)

If you'll soon need to take an RMD from your IRA or small business retirement account, and you have questions, you've come to the right place!

This video and the resources available on this page, provide answers to the most common RMD questions that we receive at Vanguard.

I'll be specifically talking about traditional IRAs and small-business retirement accounts, such as SEP-IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and i401(k) accounts.

If you need information about an employer retirement plan, use the link to RMD rules for employer retirement plans, which you can find under Related Items.

Roth IRAs are exempt from RMDs. For more information about inherited IRAs, select the link to RMD rules for inherited IRAs, in the Related Items.

So, just when are you required to take your RMD?

In most cases, you'll need to take your first RMD by April 1st, of the year following the year you reach age 73.

Once you have your first RMD under your belt, the annual deadline will be the last day of each calendar year.

But remember, if you miss these deadlines, you may have to pay a tax penalty.

If you'd just as soon not have to deal with the logistics of taking an RMD every year, our free RMD service might be exactly what you're looking for.

Once you've signed up for the service, Vanguard will distribute your RMD on time, year after year, according to the instructions you provide when you enroll.

You can read more about the service and enroll, using the Sign up for RMD service link.

Important information

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

You may wish to consult a tax advisor about your situation.


Make it automatic

Vanguard offers a free RMD service. Tell us when to process the withdrawal and where to take the money from and we'll handle your RMD each year automatically!

You can also check the status of your RMD.

Sign up for RMD services or check the status of your RMD


Confused about RMDs? We can help!

Traditional IRAs and employer plans like a 401(k) allow you to put off paying federal taxes, often for decades. Generally, your required minimum distribution (RMD) for a given year must be withdrawn by December 31 of that year, either in a lump sum or in installments. However, if you're taking an RMD for the first time, you may delay withdrawing the RMD until April 1 of the year after the year you turn age 73* (or, in some cases, until after the year you retire).

*Due to changes to federal law that took effect on January 1, 2023, the age at which you must begin taking RMDs differs depending on when you were born. If you reached age 72 on or before December 31, 2022, you were already required to take your RMD and must continue satisfying that requirement.  However, if you had not yet reached age 72 by December 31, 2022, you must take your first RMD from your traditional IRA by April 1 of the year after you reached age 73.

If you feel unsure about how to navigate RMDs, answer some basic questions and we'll walk you through what to do.

Talk to an investment professional

800-742-9998

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time

RMD look a little different? Here’s why.

If this isn't your first year taking a required minimum distribution (RMD), you may have noticed it's a bit smaller than last year. That's because the IRS released new life expectancy tables for 2022, which impacted your RMD calculation. A lower RMD means you may have a larger account balance for future years and your 2022 taxable income will most likely be reduced.

See the new life expectancy tables

Related items

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