by Alexander Long on February 11, 2019

RMD Start Ages in TOTAL - 69, 70, or 71?


In TOTAL there are 3 possible ages that RMDs appear on reports: 69, 70, or 71. This start age is dependent on the date the report is generated and the individual's date of birth. It can be difficult to explain how these situations arise without first looking at how report years work in TOTAL:

TOTAL operates on a rolling 12 months, looking at numbers as of the date a report is generated, and seeing how they will look 12 months from that date. The ages shown on the reports will start at the ages the individuals are today. For certain calculations the program will look closer at the month however.

Consider an individual who is 68 now, but will turn 69 in one month. Effectively that person is 68 and 11 months old in the first year of the report. The second year represents their situation 12 months later. So, effectively, they are 69 and 11 months at the start of the second year of the report.

Now let's look at how this logic can affect RMD start ages. Though an individual's first RMDs are technically due by April 1st the year after they turn 70.5, TOTAL effectively determines whether an individual will be 70.5 or greater by December 31st to determine if the RMD will appear. This is done to maintain consistency and ensure that 2 RMDs do not appear within a single report year. This can lead to 3 possible RMD start ages on reports: 69, 70, or 71.

RMDs at 69: This only occurs in the first half of the year. If an individual is born in the first half of the year and they have not yet passed their birth date, then the RMD will occur at age 69. Consider the following example for an individual that is currently age 69:

  • Date of Birth: 6/21/1949
  • Report Generation Date: 1/21/2019
  • Report Year Date Range: 1/21 - 1/20
  • Current Age: 69
  • Age 70.5 Date: 12/21/2019
  • Program's First RMD Due Date: 12/31/2019
  • Date Report Displays Age 70: 1/21/2020

As shown in the list above, the individual will turn 70.5 and their first RMD will be due, according to the program, within the date range of the first year, between 1/21/2019 and 1/20/2020. This means that the RMD will display at age 69. If a report is run on 6/22/2019, the RMD will display at age 70.

RMDs at 70: This is the most common start age to appear on reports. They can appear in either the first half of the year or the second half of the year. Let's take a complicated example where a report is generated for a 69 year old individual in June, but will turn 70 in August:

  • Date of Birth: 8/21/1949
  • Report Generation Date: 6/1/2019
  • Report Year Date Range: 6/1 - 5/31
  • Current Age: 69
  • Age 70.5 Date: 2/21/2020
  • Program's First RMD Due Date: 12/31/2020
  • Date Report Displays Age 70: 6/1/2020

With this example, although the individual turns 70.5 within the first year of the report, the RMD will not be considered due until passed that range. The RMD due date will fall into the date range for the following report year, which will show their age 70.

RMDs at 71: This happens only for reports generated in the second half of the year. If an individual is born in the second half of the year and they have passed their birth date then their first RMD will appear at age 71. For example, consider a report generated in November for a 70 year old individual born in September:

  • Date of Birth: 9/5/1949
  • Report Generation Date: 11/1/2019
  • Report Year Date Range: 11/1 - 10/31
  • Current Age: 70
  • Age 70.5 Date: 3/5/2020
  • Program's First RMD Due Date: 12/31/2020
  • Date Report Displays Age 70: 11/1

In this case, the individual will obviously be age 70.5 within the first 12 months of the report. However, the program will not consider the first RMD to be due until December of the following year. The first RMD due goes passed the range for the age 70 report year range, falling into the report range for the age 71 report year. Thus RMDs will start at age 71.

RMD start ages were first written about in our blog in 2015, by Carolyn Rothwell. Advisors often ask about the start age, especially when they see RMDs appear at age 69. I've decided to revisit the subject, hoping to provide further clarification about our decision to have RMDs appear at 3 possible ages.

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Alexander Long

Alex is a Technical Support Specialist at Money Tree Software. He works with advisors on a daily basis, helping them navigate the software and providing tips and recommendations for a wide array of scenarios and models within the software.