Harry Gross: How to withdraw from 2 IRAs

Posted: November 13, 2012

DEAR HARRY: I will be 70 1/2 next year. I have two traditional IRA accounts. One is in a credit union for $70,000, and the other is in a Morgan Stanley account for $67,000. I know I must start withdrawing from my IRAs, but I have some confusion. Do I have to take money from each account? If so, how do I determine how much from each? I have no special reason for having two IRAs; I just did it over a lot of years. And how about after I take the money out? Are there any special regulations as to what I am able to do with it? Can I use it to pay for some of my grandchildren's college tuition ?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: You may take your required minimum distribution from either or both of your accounts in any ratio you choose. You may delay your distribution until early 2014, but that will mean you have to take two distributions in 2014. There are no restrictions on what you can do with the money, except that you must pay the income tax on it. If you have provided sufficiently for your retirement, it's great to be able to help your grandkids with those spiking tuition costs. You could even start a 529 savings program-call 1-800-440-4000 for more information-if any are not yet of college age.


Write Harry Gross at the Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-Red Cross.

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