What are required minimum distributions and how are they determined? Beginning at age 72 and you must begin to withdraw money from your retirement accounts every year. The amount is determined based on your life expectancy. As contained in the IRS tables, required minimum distributions are computed by dividing the account balance at year’s end by the life expectancy factor. Assuming a husband and wife are about the same age, then this factor at age 72 is 25.6 years. Alternatively, you could multiply your account balance by 3.65 percent, which is 100 divided by 25.6. The first required minimum distribution must be withdrawn by April 1st of the year following the year that you turn 72. Subsequent required minimum distributions must be withdrawn by December 31st each year. Every year, your required minimum distribution will increase over your lifetime. If you want an estimate of your required minimum distributions each year let us do the math for you and help you develop a winning strategy.