Accumulation is a key facet of reaching your retirement goals. However, we tend to see far less about portfolio drawdown, or decumulation—the logistics of managing a portfolio from which you're simultaneously extracting living expenses during retirement. This can be even more complicated than accumulating assets.
One of the big mistakes of retirement distribution can be not reinvesting RMDs you don't need. Retirees may experience a situation where the amount they must withdraw from 401(k)s and IRAs for required minimum distributions can take them over their desired distribution threshold. The RMD rules require that people initially withdraw less than 4% of assets at age 70 1/2, but distributions can quickly step up into the 5%, 6%, and 7% range.
What people might not realize is that there's nothing saying they have to spend their RMDs; they can reinvest in a taxable account if they'd like that money to stay invested in the market. This can be a wise strategy for retirees who are concerned with legacy planning or long-term care needs down the line. It's possible to build a taxable account that has many of the tax-saving features of a tax-deferred account.
401(k) plans and IRAs are long-term retirement savings vehicles. Withdrawal of pre-tax contributions and/or earnings will be subject to ordinary income tax and, if taken prior to age 59 1/2, may be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty. Funds in a traditional IRA grow tax-deferred and are taxed at ordinary income tax rates when withdrawn. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax or financial planning advice. Please consult with a financial or tax professional for advice specific to your situation.