Living in Retirement

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Vanguard's free RMD Service: Sign up before you turn 70½

April 17, 2017

Uncle Sam never forgets about a birthday (or money that hasn't been taxed), so we want to make sure you never forget to take a required minimum distribution (RMD)—now or ever. (If you withdraw less than your RMD amount, you may owe a 50% penalty tax on the amount you don't withdraw).

Never forget an RMD

Vanguard's free RMD Service makes managing your RMD—from the calculation to the distribution—easy. Once you sign up for the service, we'll calculate the amount you need to withdraw and automatically distribute your assets each year.

Quick readout on RMDs:

  • Once you're age 70½, you have to withdraw a minimum amount from all of your IRAs and retirement plans (except Roth IRAs) each year.
  • You have to take your first RMD by April 1 of the year following the year you reach age 70½.
  • Subsequent RMDs must be taken by December 31.
  • You have to pay ordinary income taxes on the taxable portion you withdraw.

We'll use your retirement account balance as of December 31 of the previous year to calculate your distribution amount on an annual basis. Then we'll distribute your assets the way you want. You can choose to have them reinvested in a nonretirement account at Vanguard or they can be deposited directly into your bank account.

Set up the service

If you're age 69½ or older, you can enroll in Vanguard's RMD Service online:

  1. Log on to your account.
  2. Select Retirement contributions, distributions & RMDs.
  3. On the Required minimum distribution tab, select Set up automatic distributions.
  4. Choose the service option that will be applied to your RMD amount each year.


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