by Alexander Long on January 30, 2020

RMD Start Ages in TOTAL


With the passage of the SECURE Act in December 2019, there came important changes in the timing of Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for retirement plans. For those who have not yet started their RMDs, they will now begin when they turn 72 years old.

In TOTAL RMDs may begin at either 71 or 72 depending on the date of birth and the date the report is generated.

This RMD timing can be a confusing topic. It can help to conceptualize it by asking this question: If my client were 71 today, will they turn 72 before December?

If the answer to that above question is yes, then they would likely start RMDs by December. In a report the displayed age would be 71 since that would be their current age, but would recognize that they turn 72 before December, when their first RMD would be due.

Though the first RMD is not technically due until April, TOTAL will assume December to take a conservative approach and avoid further confusion by possibly showing 2 RMDs in one report year.

TOTAL operates on a rolling 12 months, looking at numbers on 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.

Now, let's look at some examples for the RMD start ages:


RMDs at 71: This will occur for reports generated before a client's date of birth if they are 71 or younger. Consider the following example:

  • Date of Birth: 6/21/1950
  • Report Generation Date: 1/21/2020
  • Report Year Date Range: 1/21 - 1/20
  • Current Age: 69
  • Age 72 Date: 6/21/2022
  • Program's First RMD Due Date: 12/31/2022
  • Date Report Displays Age 72: 1/21/2023

As shown in the list above, the individual will turn 72 and their first RMD will be due within the date range between 1/21/2022 and 1/20/2023, 2 years into the report and before the report displays age 72. This means that the RMD will display at age 71. If a report is run on 6/22/2020, the RMD will display at age 72.


RMDs at 72: This will occur for reports generated before a client's date of birth if they are 71 or younger. Let's use the assumptions from the previous example, but for a report generated on 6/22/2020:

  • Date of Birth: 6/21/1950
  • Report Generation Date: 6/22/2020
  • Report Year Date Range: 6/22 - 6/21
  • Start Age: 70
  • Age 72 Date: 6/22/2022
  • Program's First RMD Due Date: 12/31/2022
  • Date Report Displays Age 72: 6/23/2022

With this example, the individual will turn 72 at the very end of the report year. In this case, the first RMD due in December lands within the report period when it displays age 72.


Individuals Born Before July 1st, 1949: The changes in the SECURE Act only affect individuals who would not have started RMDs by 12/31/2019 prior to the law. Because of this, the RMDs will begin earlier for individuals born before 7/1/1949. For an example, consider an individual born 6/22/1949: 

  • Date of Birth: 6/22/1949
  • Report Generation Date: 1/21/2020
  • Report Year Date Range: 1/21 - 1/20
  • Start Age: 70
  • Age 70.5 Date: 12/22/2019
  • Individuals First RMD Due Date: 12/31/2019

Based on the information above, the individual would need to take their first RMD before 2020. Since the SECURE Act only affects individuals who would not need to start RMDs until 2020 or later, the program will begin RMDs in the first year, when they are age 70.

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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.