How To Withdraw Money From Retirement Accounts

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

When it comes time to start withdrawing money from your retirement accounts, it’s essential to know the rules. There are many different options available to retirees when it comes to withdrawing money, and each has its own rules and regulations. In this guide, we will discuss the most common methods for withdrawing money from retirement accounts and the pros and cons of each.

Table Of Contents
  1. How do I withdraw money from my retirement account?
  2. Can I withdraw all my retirement money?
  3. How much can I withdraw from my retirement account?
  4. What happens when you cash out a retirement account?
  5. How long does it take to get retirement money?
  6. Which accounts should I withdraw from first in retirement?
  7. Is it better to withdraw monthly or annually from 401k?
  8. What is the best way to withdraw money from 401k?
  9. In what order should I withdraw retirement funds?
  10. Can I close my IRA and take the money?
  11. How many times a year can I withdraw from my IRA?
  12. How can I withdraw money from my retirement account without penalty?
  13. How do I access my retirement account?
  14. How much does it cost to cash out 401k?
  15. Can I close my 401k and take the money?
  16. Can I take money out of my retirement account to buy a house?
  17. Do I pay taxes on 401k withdrawal after age 66?
  18. When can you draw down an IRA?
  19. Should I draw down IRA before Social Security?
  20. Is 401k distribution considered income?
  21. Can I open a Roth IRA with my bank?
  22. Does my employer have to approve a 401k withdrawal?
  23. Can I deposit my 401k into my bank account?
  24. At what age is 401k withdrawal tax-free?
  25. How much can you withdraw from 401k each year?
  26. At what age do I need to draw from my 401k?
  27. How can I withdraw my 401k without paying taxes?
  28. How much can you borrow from a 401k?
  29. How much tax will I pay on 401k distribution?
  30. What age can you withdraw from 401k without paying taxes? 
  31. Where is the safest place to put your retirement money?
  32. How do I pay fewer taxes on retirement withdrawals?
  33. When can you take retirement distributions?
  34. How much will I be taxed if I close my IRA?
  35. How can I withdraw money from my IRA without penalty?
  36. Can I close my IRA anytime?
  37. How long do you have to hold an IRA?
  38. How is an IRA paid out?
  39. Do I have to pay taxes on my IRA after age 65?
  40. Who do I contact to cash out my 401k?
  41. Can an employer deny 401k withdrawal?
  42. Next Steps

How do I withdraw money from my retirement account?

Many worry about how they will generate income during retirement, especially if they do not have a pension. One way to ensure a steady income stream during retirement is to purchase an annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit.

You can transfer or roll your retirement account into the annuity when you retire. The annuity will then provide you with an income stream for the rest of your life.

This can be a very effective way to use your retirement account, as it ensures that you will have a consistent income throughout your retirement years.

Can I withdraw all my retirement money?

Once you reach the age of 59 1/2, you can withdraw as much or as little money as you want from your retirement accounts without having to pay a penalty. However, it is essential to remember that you will still owe taxes on any money you withdraw.

The amount of taxes owed will depend on the type of retirement account that you have and your tax situation. For example, withdrawing money from a traditional IRA or 401(k) will result in taxes on the entire withdrawal, while withdrawing from a Roth IRA will not result in any taxes owed.

It is essential to consider your tax situation before making any withdrawals from your retirement accounts.

Use our Retirement Planning Calculator to see how much you need to save each month to reach your retirement goals.

How much can I withdraw from my retirement account?

If you’re younger than 59 1/2, you might be subject to an early withdrawal penalty of 10% in addition to ordinary income taxes. You can get around this penalty with a 72(t) or 72(q) distribution. After age 59 1/2, you can withdraw all of your retirement money without a penalty. 

What happens when you cash out a retirement account?

 If you cash your retirement account and are younger than 59 1/2, you might be subject to an early withdrawal penalty of 10% in addition to ordinary income taxes. However, after age 59 1/2, you can withdraw all of your retirement money without a penalty.

How long does it take to get retirement money?

The answer depends on a few factors if you’re wondering how long it will take to get your retirement money. First, you must ensure that everything is in order and that your paperwork is complete. Once everything is in order, it typically takes up to 30 business days for the money to be disbursed. However, if there are any complications or delays, it could take longer. So, if you’re planning on retiring soon, it’s best to start the process early so that you can have peace of mind knowing that your finances are in order.

Which accounts should I withdraw from first in retirement?

You should withdraw from your qualified retirement accounts first because if you don’t, at age 72, you will have to withdraw the required minimum distributions (RMD), potentially increasing your tax bracket at an older age.   

Is it better to withdraw monthly or annually from 401k?

Withdrawing from your 401(k) monthly is better than annually because you earn interest on the money in the account, not the money in your pocket.

An annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit can automate this process and continue to pay you a monthly income for the rest of your life, even after the 401(k) has run out of money.

What is the best way to withdraw money from 401k?

When you reach retirement age, you can begin withdrawing funds from your 401(k). However, once the money in your 401(k) is gone, it’s gone. This is where an annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit can be helpful.

An annuity is an insurance product that can provide income for the rest of your life. The guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit means the insurance company will still make payments to you even if the money in your annuity runs out.

As a result, an annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit can be a great way to ensure you have a steady income in retirement, even after your 401(k) has run out of money.     

In what order should I withdraw retirement funds?

When deciding, you will want to consider the tax implications and the required minimum distributions (RMDs). The consensus is that taxes will only increase in the future.

Once you reach the age of 72, you will be required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your qualified retirement accounts (traditional IRA and 401(k)). This can significantly impact your taxes, as you may be in a higher tax bracket later in life than expected. 

Therefore, it is generally advisable to withdraw from your 401(k) or IRA before you reach this age. However, withdrawing from a Roth IRA is a different story. Because withdrawals from a Roth IRA are tax-free, there is no need to worry about RMDs.

Finally, any non-qualified retirement accounts should be withdrawn last, as only the interest earned on these accounts is taxable, and no RMDs are owed.

Can I close my IRA and take the money?

 Yes, you can close your IRA and take the money. However, withdrawals from an IRA made before age 59 1/2 may be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty in addition to ordinary income taxes.

How many times a year can I withdraw from my IRA?

You can withdraw money from an IRA as often as you need to.

How can I withdraw money from my retirement account without penalty?

  • The government will allow investors to withdraw money from their IRA to pay for unreimbursed medical expenses exceeding 10 percent of adjusted gross income. The withdrawal must be made in the same year the medical bills were incurred. 
  • The IRS dictates that investors must be totally and permanently disabled before withdrawing their retirement plans without paying a 10 percent penalty. 
  • If you are unemployed for 12 weeks, you can withdraw from your IRA without a penalty.
  • Beneficiaries can withdraw from the inherited IRA account without paying the 10 percent penalty.
  • First-time homebuyers can withdraw money from their IRA without a penalty. In addition, homebuyers who have not owed a home in the previous two years can also dip into their IRA without penalty. $10,000 is the lifetime limit.
  • Qualified expenses for higher education can avoid the penalty.
  • Section 72(t) distributions allow income to be withdrawn from the IRA without penalty if substantially equal periodic payments are made for five years or age 59 1/2, whichever is longer.

How do I access my retirement account?

There are several ways to access your retirement account.

  • If you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you may be able to withdraw funds directly from your account. You can do it online, by phone, or in person. All you need is your account number and personal identification information.
  • Alternatively, you may be able to take a loan against your retirement account balance.
  • If you have a self-directed retirement account, you will likely need to use a broker or financial advisor to withdraw funds.

In most cases, you will need to pay taxes and penalties on any withdrawals made before 59½. As such, it is generally advisable to only withdraw funds from your retirement account as a last resort.

How much does it cost to cash out 401k?

First, you will have to pay taxes (Federal and State) on the amount you cash out. Second, if you cash out early, you may be subject to a 10% penalty. Finally, cashing out your 401k will result in a loss of potential earnings.   

Can I close my 401k and take the money?

You can close your 401(k) and take the money. However, you may incur a hefty penalty for early withdrawal. Additionally, you will lose out on any future growth potential. If possible, taking a loan from your 401k may be better than closing it entirely. By doing so, you can avoid the penalties and keep your retirement savings intact. 

Can I take money out of my retirement account to buy a house?

The short answer is yes since it is your money.

  • 401(k): Withdrawing funds from your 401(k) before age 59½ will incur a 10% early withdrawal penalty and taxes. 
  • IRA: The IRS does offer an exception for first-time home buyers. Withdrawals of up to $10,000 are allowed for the purchase, construction, or renovation of a primary residence, and these withdrawals are not subject to the 10% penalty.

Do I pay taxes on 401k withdrawal after age 66?

It’s a common misconception that 401(k) withdrawals are not subject to taxation. While it is true that you do not have to pay taxes on the money you contribute to your 401(k), you will eventually have to pay taxes on the money you withdraw from it. 

When can you draw down an IRA?

You can begin withdrawing funds from your IRA after you turn age 59½. However, you may be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you withdraw funds before that age.

Should I draw down IRA before Social Security?

Spending your IRA and delaying your Social Security is a good idea. However, if you start withdrawing from your IRA, your account balance is likely to be smaller by the time you’re 72 when you are subject to required minimum distributions.

Is 401k distribution considered income?

Yes, a 401(k) distribution is considered income.

Can I open a Roth IRA with my bank?

Yes, you can open a Roth IRA with your bank, financial institution, or insurance company (IRA annuity). 

Does my employer have to approve a 401k withdrawal?

Employers are not required for employees to withdraw from their 401(k) plans.

Can I deposit my 401k into my bank account?

Can you transfer your 401k to your bank? Once you have attained 59 ½, you can transfer funds from a 401(k) to your bank account without paying the 10% penalty. However, you must still pay the withdrawn amount’s ordinary income (Federal and State).

If you have already retired, you can elect to receive monthly or periodic transfers to your bank account to help pay your living costs. An annuity can automate this process and guarantee to continue to deposit a monthly income into the bank account after the 401(k) has depleted its account.

At what age is 401k withdrawal tax-free?

59 ½ years old. A withdrawal from a traditional 401(k) plan is considered taxable income and is not tax-free. A Roth 401(k) plan withdrawal is considered tax-free income.

How much can you withdraw from 401k each year?

Most retirees wonder what a good percentage to withdraw from 401k. In recent years, financial experts have debunked the 4% withdrawal rate. Instead, they now estimate that retirees can safely withdraw the amount equal to around 2.8% annually and then adjust for inflation each subsequent year for 30 years.

An annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit will guarantee up to 6% annually for the rest of a retiree’s lifetime and never run out of money.

At what age do I need to draw from my 401k?

You must take your first required minimum distribution for the year you turn 72.

How can I withdraw my 401k without paying taxes?

Investing in a Roth 401(k) will allow retirees to withdraw from their 401(k) without paying taxes.

An option to reduce taxes on 401(k) withdrawals is transferring the funds into a deferred annuity that offers a premium bonus. The bonus (currently up to 20%) will help offset the taxes owed.

How much can you borrow from a 401k?

Depending on your employer’s plan, you could take out as much as 50% of your savings, up to a maximum of $50,000, within a 12-month period. Remember, in most cases, you’ll have to pay that borrowed money back, plus interest, within five years of taking your loan.

How much tax will I pay on 401k distribution?

All distributions from traditional 401(k) plans are considered taxable income and are taxed at your ordinary income tax rates. Ordinary income tax includes Federal and State income taxes.

Distributions from a Roth 401(k) plan are income tax-free.

What age can you withdraw from 401k without paying taxes? 

There is no age where withdrawals from a 401(k) will not be subject to income taxes. All distributions from traditional 401(k) plans are considered taxable income and are taxed at your ordinary income tax rates. Ordinary income tax includes Federal and State income taxes.

Where is the safest place to put your retirement money?

An annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit is the safest place to put your IRA and 401(k) money because annuities guarantee to pay a retirement income (up to 6% annually) for life, even after the retirement account has run out of money.

Use our Annuity Income Calculator to see how much your retirement savings will provide through your lifetime.

How do I pay fewer taxes on retirement withdrawals?

  • Roth Accounts: Putting some of your retirement savings in an after-tax Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA account could set you up for tax-free investment growth and retirement withdrawal. 
  • Non-qualified annuities: Putting some of your retirement savings in an after-tax non-qualified deferred annuity. Only the interest earned portion is considered taxable income.
  • Permanent life insurance: Loans from universal or whole life insurance can be tax-free withdrawals.
  • Wait until age 59 1/2: Withdraw after age 59 1/2 to avoid the early withdrawal penalty.
  • Roll over your 401(k): Roll over your 401(k) ) instead of withdrawing without tax withholding of 20%.
  • Delay Social Security: Taking 401(k) and IRA withdrawals before starting Social Security payments could allow you to pay a lower income tax rate on your retirement savings.
  • Retire Later In Life: If you work after age 72 and don’t own 5% or more of the company you work for, you can continue to delay 401(k) withdrawals from your current employer’s account until you retire.
  • Don’t Delay Your First RMD: Your first required minimum distribution is due by April 1 of the year after you turn 72. Your second and all subsequent distributions must be taken by December 31 each year. If you delay your first required minimum distribution until April 1, you will be required to take two distributions in the same year, which could result in a high tax bill or even bump you into a higher tax bracket.
  • Give to charity: For retirees looking for a way to reduce their tax burden and support charitable causes, making an IRA charitable distribution can be an ideal solution. With a qualified charitable distribution, retirees can avoid paying income tax on up to $100,000 ($200,000 for couples) that they donate to charity each year. Furthermore, a charitable distribution from an IRA can satisfy the minimum distribution requirement, freeing up additional funds for other purposes.

When can you take retirement distributions?

You generally have to withdraw from your IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, Roth IRA, or retirement plan account without a penalty when you reach age 59 1/2.

If you do not take withdrawals from your IRA, SEP IRA, or SIMPLE IRA, required minimum distributions must be taken once you reach age 72. If the distribution is not taken by the deadline, a 50% tax will be incurred on the distribution due.

Roth IRAs do not require withdrawals until after the death of the owner. Therefore, you can withdraw more than the minimum required amount.

How much will I be taxed if I close my IRA?

The entire IRA will be taxed as ordinary income tax. In addition, if the IRA is closed before age 59 1/2, an additional early withdrawal penalty of 10% will also be imposed.

How can I withdraw money from my IRA without penalty?

  • Wait until age 59 1/2. Once you turn 59 1/2, you can withdraw any amount from your IRA without paying the 10% penalty.
  • Use the distribution for qualified medical expenses.
  • If you’re unemployed for at least 12 weeks, use the withdrawal to pay for health insurance premiums.

Pay for eligible college expenses, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment. Room and board expenses can be eligible if the student attending college is at least a half-time student.

  • Use the withdrawal as a down payment on a home. You must be a first-time buyer or have not owned a home for the previous two years. $10,000 is the lifetime limit per individual ($20,000 per couple).
  • New parents can withdraw up to $5,000 without a penalty following the birth or adoption of a child.
  • If you develop a disability and cannot work, you can spend your IRA without a penalty.
  • Military reserve members called to active duty can avoid the penalty.
  • 72(t) distributions are IRS-approved withdrawals before age 59 1/2.
  • Beneficiaries that inherit a traditional IRA are penalty-free.

Can I close my IRA anytime?

Yes, you can close the IRA at any time.

How long do you have to hold an IRA?

There is no time period for a traditional IRA. However, Roth IRAs require you to hold your account for at least five years before taping those earnings without incurring a penalty.

How is an IRA paid out?

An owner of an IRA can withdraw money at any time and any frequency.

Utilizing an annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit automates the withdrawals and guarantees to pay you for the rest of your life, even after the IRA has run out of money.

Do I have to pay taxes on my IRA after age 65?

You must pay taxes on all distributions from a traditional IRA account.

Who do I contact to cash out my 401k?

Contact your 401(k) plan provider and have them direct deposit the 401(k) into your bank account or have them mail you a paper check.

Can an employer deny 401k withdrawal?

If an employee takes out a loan on their 401(k) and does not repay it, an employer can refuse access to your 401(k).

Next Steps

Whether you’re just starting to save for retirement or are already retired, it’s never too late to start planning and saving. Thanks for following our series on retirement planning. We hope these resources have helped you better understand what you need to do to ensure a comfortable future. If you have any questions or interest in an annuity, don’t hesitate to contact us for a quote. We would be happy to help!

How To Withdraw Money From Retirement Accounts (2022)

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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