When you turn 70 1/2, you are required to take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your Traditional IRA's, 403b's, 457's or old 401(k) plans. When you take these RMD's, you will pay state and federal income taxes on the money in the year you take the distribution. You will want to make sure you take the correct amount.
If you don't withdraw the correct amount, as a distribution, there can be a 50 percent penalty from the IRS on the amount you did not take. You have to have your RMD taken out of your account before Dec. 31 of each year you are over 70 1/2.
One of the key advantages of the Roth IRA is that it does not require the account owner to take distributions during your lifetime. In addition, you can continue to make contributions to a Roth IRA beyond age 70 1/2 as long as you have earned income.
Another major benefit of the Roth IRA is that distributions taken by the owner, or the owner's benficiaries, are generally tax free if the owner has held the account for at least five years and meets certain other requirements.
The Roth IRA is a great thing to take advantage of if you meet the income limit requirements.