The Role of Individual Retirement Accounts in US Retirement Planning
With the rising importance of individual retirement accounts (IRAs), which now total onequarter of US retirement assets, public policy has sharpened its focus on how individuals manage those accumulations through work and retirement years. Individuals are required to take distributions from their IRAs after age 70½, while distributions taken prior to age 59½ generally incur a 10 percent penalty. Previous research has found that IRA owners rarely tapped these assets prior to retirement; this chapter updates results and shows that these patterns continue. Several factors influence the probability of withdrawal (prior to 70½): being younger than 60 lowers the probability of a withdrawal, but being retired, in poor health, or having a home mortgage increases the likelihood of withdrawal.