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Put off 401(k) withdrawal until retirement

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Q. I retired at age 62 but then went back to work on a part-time basis when I was 66. When I reach 70 1/2 in a few years, do I have to start taking distributions from my 401(k) plan? R.W., Stamford, Conn.

A. No. Usually, you must begin taking distributions from a qualified retirement plan by April 1 of the year after the year in which you reach age 701/2. But this rule doesn’t apply to people who haven’t retired— even if you only work part time or haven’t worked continuously to that point. Assuming you don’t own a 5-percent-or-more interest in the company where you’re now employed, you can avoid mandatory distributions until the time you retire. Tip: No such postponement is allowed for mandatory distributions from a traditional IRA, but recent regulatory changes enable you to take smaller annual distributions than the amounts required in the past.

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