What is Minimum Withdrawal From 401k

The minimum withdrawal for a 401(k) depends on a few factors, including the plan’s rules and your age. Generally, the minimum required withdrawal is 3.5% of your account balance when you reach age 72. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you continue working past age 72, you may not have to take any withdrawals from your 401(k). Additionally, some 401(k) plans allow you to withdraw a lower amount, such as 2.5% of your account balance, or no amount at all until age 75. It is important to review your 401(k) plan’s rules and consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to determine the minimum withdrawal amount that applies to your specific situation. Failing to take the required minimum distributions can result in a penalty tax.

Age 59½ Rule

The age 59½ rule is a common misconception surrounding minimum withdrawals from 401(k) accounts. This rule states that you must begin taking withdrawals from your 401(k) account once you reach age 59½, regardless of whether you are still working or not. However, this is not entirely accurate.

  • You are only required to begin taking minimum withdrawals from your 401(k) account once you reach age 72.
  • If you continue working past age 59½, you can delay taking withdrawals until you retire.
  • If you withdraw funds from your 401(k) account before age 59½, you may be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty.
AgeRequired Minimum Distribution
Under 59½0%
59½ to 72Varies based on life expectancy
72 and olderRequired Minimum Distribution (RMD) based on life expectancy

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)


As you approach retirement, you must start taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs. These distributions are designed to ensure that you gradually withdraw your retirement savings over your lifetime and pay taxes on them.

Age and RMDs

  • For traditional IRAs and 401(k)s, you must start taking RMDs by April 1st of the year after you turn 73.
  • For Roth IRAs, you are not required to take RMDs during your lifetime.

Calculating Your RMD

The amount of your RMD is calculated using a formula provided by the IRS. The formula takes into account your account balance at the end of the previous year and your life expectancy. You can find instructions for calculating your RMD on the IRS website.

Penalties for Withdrawing Too Little

If you withdraw less than your RMD, you may be subject to a 50% penalty tax on the amount that you should have withdrawn. This penalty can be substantial, so it is important to take your RMDs on time.

Exceptions to RMDs

There are some exceptions to the RMD rules. For example, you do not have to take RMDs if you are still working full-time and have not yet reached age 59½ for traditional IRAs or 55 for Roth IRAs.

Account TypeRMD Start AgePenalty for Withdrawing Too Little
Traditional IRAs7350% penalty tax
Roth IRAsNeverN/A
401(k)s7350% penalty tax

Minimum Withdrawals

Most people can start taking money out of their 401(k) plans once they reach age 59½ without incurring a 10% penalty. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as if you leave your job after age 55 and take withdrawals from your 401(k) right away.

Penalties for Early Withdrawals

If you take money out of your 401(k) before you reach age 59½, you will likely have to pay income tax on the withdrawal, plus a 10% penalty. This penalty is in addition to any state or local taxes you may owe.

There are a few exceptions to the early withdrawal penalty, including:

  • If you are disabled
  • If you are taking withdrawals to pay for medical expenses
  • If you are taking withdrawals to pay for education expenses
  • If you are taking withdrawals to buy a first home
  • If you are taking withdrawals to pay for certain other expenses, such as funeral expenses or moving expenses

If you are not sure whether you qualify for an exception to the early withdrawal penalty, you should consult with a tax advisor.

Required Minimum Distributions

Once you reach age 72, you must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your 401(k) plan each year. The amount of your RMD is based on your age and the account balance. You can take your RMDs in monthly installments or withdraw the entire amount all at once.

If you fail to take your RMDs, you will have to pay a penalty of 50% of the amount that you should have withdrawn.

AgeMinimum Withdrawal Percentage

Minimum Withdrawal Rules

Reaching age 72 is a significant milestone in retirement planning. It triggers the start of Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your 401(k) and other retirement accounts. These withdrawals are intended to ensure that you begin accessing your retirement savings to avoid tax penalties. According to the IRS, the minimum withdrawal amount is determined based on your account balance on December 31 of the year before the required distribution. The formula is 1 divided by your life expectancy factor, which is based on your age. Life expectancy factors are available on the IRS website.

Exceptions to Minimum Withdrawal Rules

  • Death: If the account holder passes away before age 72, the RMD rules do not apply to the account balance.
  • Disability: If you become disabled before age 59½, you may not have to take RMDs until you reach the age of 72.
  • Substantially Equal Periodic Payments (SEPPs): If you establish SEPPs before age 59½, you can avoid the 10% early withdrawal penalty and withdraw equal amounts from your retirement account over a period of 5 years or more.
AgeLife Expectancy FactorMinimum Withdrawal Percentage

I hope this article has helped you understand the minimum withdrawal from your 401k. If you have any further questions, be sure to consult with a financial advisor. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll visit again soon!