Q: In a recent article, you said people must start taking IRA distributions after turning 70 1/2 (See 3/8/04 issue) Are the rules different for Roth IRAs? J.C., via e-mail
A: Yes, the rules are much more taxpayer-friendly. In fact, you're not required to take any distributions from a Roth IRA that was established in your name. You can die at age 90 with the Roth fully intact. In comparison, tax laws say you must begin taking distributions from a traditional IRA by April 1 of the year after the year in which you turn 70 1/2. Even better: While you can't contribute to a traditional IRA after 70 1/2, you face no age limit for making Roth IRA contributions. Note: You must have earned income each year that is at least equal to your contribution for that year.
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