Do I need to take a 401(k) distribution once I retire?

August 4, 2021

Q. I’m 76 years old. If I stopped working on June 30, 2021, do I have to take a minimum distribution from my 401(k) this year?

— Retired, finally

A. It’s a good question.

You do not need to take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) this year.

“The IRS guidance is that you need to take RMDs from a defined contribution plan by April 1st of the year following the later of the year you turn 72 or the year you retire — if allowed by your plan,” said Adam Leone, a certified financial planner with Modera Wealth Management in Westwood.

Even though a distribution may not be required, it is a good idea to estimate your income for the year and your marginal tax bracket, Leone said.

“If you are in one of the lower tax brackets and will need funds in the near future, it might make sense to take a withdrawal from your 401(k),” he said.

Email your questions to

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. Find NJMoneyHelp on Facebook. Sign up for’s weekly e-newsletter.