What Is the Difference in IRA Life Expectancy for Men Compared to Women?

The life-expectancy tables that taxpayers use to determine the required minimum distributions from their IRAs are the same for men and women, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS provides three life-expectancy tables, and the selection of the appropriate table depends on a taxpayer’s marital status, the age of a spouse and the relationship of the IRA’s beneficiary to the account holder.

Single taxpayers and married couples who are fairly close in age use Table III to determine the required minimum distributions, which traditional IRA owners must begin making in the year they turn 70 1/2. An account owner whose spouse is more than 10 years younger uses Table II to calculate the minimum distribution amount. These distributions are smaller to accommodate a younger spouse’s longer life expectancy, explains Kiplinger.

Once an account owner dies, the beneficiary’s relationship to the owner dictates which table to use for distribution calculations. A nonspousal beneficiary uses Table I and starts taking minimum distributions the year after the account owner dies, notes Kiplinger. Spousal beneficiaries use Table III if they roll the account balance into their own IRAs. A spouse who leaves the money in the original IRA uses Table I and starts taking distributions in the year that the deceased spouse would have turned 70 1/2.