Robert was not aware that he had to start withdrawing money from his IRAs and 401(k) after he turned 70 ½. After he got over his initial shock of having to live with Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), he settled down to figure out the best way to take that money so it would be best for his overall investment portfolio and year-end tax bill. His three IRAs were all invested differently, in different places. His 401(k) was still with his previous employer. The rules state that he has to take money from each of his 401(k)s in the amount that is at least the RMD from that account. But he can add up the total amount in each of his IRAs and withdraw the entire RMD from one of the accounts if he wishes. So Robert figured the amount he would need to take and filled out the paperwork to withdraw his RMD from his 401(k). But on his IRAs, he looked first at how they each had performed, and what he thought the prospects were for each one growing over the next year. Then he filled out the paperwork to take the combined RMD from just one of the accounts. That way, the other two accounts could remain untouched and continue to grow the following year. However, he did have one more issue. And that was with the total amount he was going to receive. His RMD and the other income he was getting from Social Security and his pension was going to knock him into a higher tax bracket. He wondered how he could possibly take his income without having to pay so much of it in taxes. Since Robert was a very faithful member of his church, and he really didn’t need the income he had to take from his qualified plans, he decided to invoke the Charitable Distribution rules for them. He learned that he could have his IRA custodian make a check out for his RMD directly to his church and send it to them from his account. With the new tax law implemented this year, and more people being better off filing the short form on their taxes, it worked out that Robert’s RMD was about the same as his annual tithe, so he had that money sent to his church, saving him about $3,000 in taxes and costing his church nothing. The only one getting less money was the IRS, and Robert was happy about that. There are many ways the government has to tax what you own. But there are also lots of legal ways to avoid paying those taxes. I’ve mentioned just one today.