Americans in their sixties are taking more money out of their IRAs than those who are older, according to a new report.

The report, from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, found that Americans between 61 and 70 years old were making withdrawals that were larger both in absolute dollars and as a percentage of their account balance – even though the rules requiring minimum distributions don’t kick in until April 1 of the year following the year in which retirees turn 70-1/2.

“As more and more Baby Boomers enter retirement with large portions of their retirement savings in IRAs, their financial security in retirement may well depend on how they manage these accounts post-retirement,” said EBRI research associate Sudipto Banerjee, who wrote the report. “Some may be overly cautious in drawing down their IRA balances, sacrificing a more enjoyable retirement, while others may spend too much too soon, jeopardizing their retirement security.”

The report also found that households in their sixties were more likely to spend the money withdrawn than to save it, and are depleting other sources of income at the same time.

In addition, low-income households were both more likely to make a withdrawal, and more likely to withdraw a larger percent of their balance, than higher-income families.

The study was based on data from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging.

Full results of the report were published in the May 2013 EBRI Notes, “IRA Withdrawals: How Much, When, and Other Saving Behavior,” which can be found on the EBRI Web site.

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