When you must commence distributions it usually makes sense to take only minimum IRA distributions when you have no need for the extra funds. By taking only the minimum distribution required by law, you are spreading the income over a number of years as well as allowing amounts remaining in the plan to grow due to the continuing tax-free nature of the earnings. IRS regulations coupled with new mortality tables reflecting increased longevity have significantly reduced the amount of the required minimum distribution. When you commence minimum distributions at age 70 1/2, you will be treated as having a designated beneficiary who is 10 years younger than you even if you have not named a beneficiary.