The IRS requires IRA owners to take distributions starting at age 70 ½.
By April 1st of the year following the year you turn 70 ½, the IRS needs to see a distribution from your IRA that satisfies the Required Minimum Distribution rule. The RMD is calculated using a table published by the IRS, and each age is assigned a different “factor.”
The factor is a number, and you divide the balance of your IRA or 401(k) by that number to reveal the amount that will satisfy your RMD obligation. The factor decreases incrementally as the ages increase.
You may also be ordered by a judge to liquidate a large portion of your account as a result of a QDRO ruling in a divorce proceeding.