Truth 3 59 1/2 and 70 1/2

Throughout the laws pertaining to withdrawals from annuities, traditional IRAs, and 401(k)s are found the recurring numbers 59 1/2 and 70 1/2. These numbers seem to take on almost mythical proportions. Most of us assume that there are logical reasons behind these numbers and assume, in particular, that the mystical 1/2 years contained in each of these numbers must have tremendous significance. However, to assume this is to give Congress much more credit than it deserves.

The age of 59 1/2 is the age at which you can withdraw money from retirement accounts without penalties. It’s certainly understandable ...

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