BOSTON (CBS) – It is your money in that IRA. And you can get at it. But you may have to pay a penalty to get at it if you are under 59½.

The IRS and Congress allowed tax deferred growth and most times a deduction for that IRA, so they will not be happy if you want to withdraw your money before age 59½.

They will add a 10% penalty to your taxes. If you wait until age 59½ you can get the money without the penalty but you will still owe the taxes.

Minimum required distributions known as MRDs normally must begin at age 70½ for all of your IRAs except the Roth.You must generally start receiving distributions from your IRA by April 1 of the year following the year in which you reach age 70½.

The distributions are based on your life expectancy using an IRS table, the Uniform Lifetime Table found in the IRS publication 590.

Don’t mess with the minimum required distribution. If you are late in taking that first distribution, there is a 50 percent penalty on the amount of the required minimum distribution.

If you have multiple IRAs, you must use the combined value to determine the minimum distribution. You need use only one account thought to withdraw funds from.

But to make life easier especially the bookkeeping part consider consolidating your IRAs and your retirement plans into one account. Getting one monthly statement instead of four or five will definitely make life simpler.

The custodian of your IRAs will help you make your withdrawals in a timely manner. When filling out the application they do require your birth date so they will know when you turn 70.

The minimum required distribution is not a lot of money we are talking about having to withdraw. You will only need to withdraw about 4% a year. On a $100,000 that is about $4,000. You, of course, can take out as much as you need from your IRA.

One more thing:  If you need help in making your decision a trusted advisor is the only way to go. You may need to seek out a certified financial planner (CFP) or a CPA to help.

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.

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