To wait or not to wait, that is the question.
80% of retirees wait until their RMD (Required Minimum distribution) date to begin tapping into their retirement. Is this wise? Your individual circumstances need to be examined and you also must ask why the rules keep changing.
RMD requirements came out of legislation in 1974 called ERISA. This was a massive piece of legislation that may affect the average American more than any other piece of legislation. It governs pensions, retirement accounts, and other employee benefits. In 1974 the law said RMD's needed to begin by age 70 ½. These rules didn't change for 45 years, then in 2019 congress passed the SECURE Act which raised the required withdrawal date to age 72.
It looks like our government will soon pass the SECURE Act 2.0. If passed in its current form, it would move the required RMD start date to age 75 (phased in over several years).
Why so many changes? Do they want us to have more money to retire, or do they want to maximize tax revenue?
Life expectancy is around age 85 (a little longer for women, and shorter for men) So, by starting withdrawals at age 75, you may only have 10 years to take your withdrawals. Starting at age 60 you are looking at 25 or more years to withdraw. If the account value increases while you delay and the withdrawal period is condensed, this will mean much larger withdrawal amounts and will likely mean higher income tax burdens. Other things become more likely after age 75. Terminal illness, and/or long-term care expenses. These events are likely to cause a spike in withdrawals.
Currently a widow has the privilege to continue RMD's from her spouses account (they usually will move it into their own name) without interruption or any real change. Interestingly enough, the SECURE act eliminated stretch IRAs for non-spouse beneficiaries. So presently, the kids can only keep the money sheltered for up to 10 years after they inherit. (10 years from the date account holder passed away).
There are at least two things that can be changed at any time. Tax rates and income thresholds. People are usually more away of tax rates changing, than adjustments to thresholds (brackets). The IRS can quietly build a bigger net. You can know your tax rate today (kind of), but there is no way to predict what tomorrow's rates will be.
Consider all your options and look at the math. Don't just assume delaying the withdrawals will result in lowering your tax burden. If you don't expect to need this money to live on, you should consider a Roth conversion strategy.
Pay your fair share in taxes, not your unfair share.