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Subject:  Re: How many IRA's? Date:  1/19/2004  3:02 AM
Author:  mcain6925 Number:  38634 of 88807

You must take the same total amount whether you take it from one IRA or all of them. You can eliminated the IRAs one by one if you like.
The size of distribution required has nothing to do with the number of IRAs, so it is difficult to see where there would be any more flexibility.

Here's one explanation. Note the last couple of paragraphs in particular. I actually got my explanation from my financial advisor.

The IRS has ruled that you can calculate a 72(t) substantially equal periodic payment (SEPP) distribution based on the balance in one particular IRA. You have to "freeze" that IRA, at least in the sense that you can't make additional contributions to it, nor can you move money between it and any other qualified accounts you may have. You are correct with respect to other types of distribution, such as towards purchase of a house -- you can take one such distribution, not one per IRA.
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