Are you contributing to a Roth IRA? Are you contributing to the Roth feature of a 403(b)/457(b)/401(k) retirement-investment plan?


  1. Contributions are made with after-tax dollars.
  2. Contributions may be withdrawn, tax-free, at any time because the tax on the contributions has already been paid.
  3. The earnings generated by the investment of the contributions may be withdrawn tax-free provided the Roth IRA has been opened for five years and the owner has attained the age of 59.5.
  4. At age 72, the Roth IRA is not subject to Required Minimum Distributions.
  5. The Roth IRA owner need not make any withdrawals during his/her lifetime.
  6. Items 1-5 apply to the spouse-beneficiary of a Roth IRA.
  7. A non-spouse-beneficiary of a Roth IRA must empty the account within 10 years of the death of the Roth IRA owner. These withdrawals are tax-free.

At age 72, your Roth 457(b), Roth 401(k) and Roth 403(b) accounts are subject to Required Minimum Distributions. While such RMDs are tax-free, they still must be taken.

Note: the interest/dividends/capital gains generated by the reinvestment of the tax-free RMD is taxable income. To relieve yourself of this record-keeping and tax-compliance chores, I advise you, upon retirement, to roll your Roth employer-plan account balance into your Roth IRA, which is exempt from RMDs. Ideally, your Roth IRA was opened at least five years earlier, so all withdrawals, after attainment of age 59.5, will be tax-free.

Mr. Frank is a fee-only Retirement Financial Planner and a retired city high school Teacher of Accounting. He can be reached by phone at (732) 536-9472, or via email at

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