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It is also a dislike for paying taxes on distributions that aren't immediately needed.

Exactly. It's not panic so much as the unpleasantness of seeing $20,000 of your money suddenly become $15,000 or less, depending on your tax bracket and what state you live in. It's like a tax on getting older. Of course, that money was sheltered from taxes when it went into the IRA at a time when the tax rates were likely higher. But that's not what you think about when you write the check to the Treasury Department.

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