Required minimum distribution


Q. I am currently employed as a full-time career Senior Executive with 24 years of service and two years additional military service. In December 2018, I turned 70 years old; I’ll reach the 70 ½ mark in three months, in June 2019. According to the TSP document “Withdrawing Your TSP Account After Leaving Federal Service” {p 3, Limitations on Leaving your money in the TSP}, I don’t have to withdraw funds until April 1 of the year following the year I retire. However, I will be subject to the RMD because of my age.

Because of the tax implications, I plan to retire soon after January 1, 2020. If I retire in January 2020, because I’ll be over 70 ½, must I take the RMD in 2020, or can I wait until 2021? If I wait until 2021 to take the RMD, must I take 2020 and 2021 RMDs in 2021? Or would I take one RMD in 2021 and one every year thereafter?

A. Your 1st RMD year for the TSP is the year in which you are both: 1. At least age 70 ½ and; 2. Retired from TSP-covered service. The 1st RMD is not due until April 1 of the year following your 1st RMD year. The RMD for all subsequent tax years are due by the end of the year. You may take your 1st RMD any time between January 1 of the year and April 1 of the following year.


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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

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