Last week’s column on the SECURE Act (H.R. 1994, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act) generated letters from readers, especially about the RMDs, or required minimum distributions, that kick in at age 70 1/2. (If you missed the column, email me at readers@juliejason.com.) The SECURE Act would start RMDs later, at age 72 instead of 70 1/2, but not until 2020.

This makes sense, as people are living longer. I mentioned that I’d like to see our legislators do more. Why not delay RMDs longer, to age 75 or even 85? Or better yet, why not eliminate taxes on IRA withdrawals during retirement?

That comment generated some letters from readers that I’d like to share.

R.S. said: “Regarding your last comment about eliminating taxes on withdrawals, my preference would be legislation that makes, say, the first $10K of a withdrawal (whether RMD or otherwise) tax-free. I am over 70 now, but I could have used some of the money in my IRA in earlier years, but didn’t because of the tax implications. Using that money at that time probably would have helped the economy then, although this is mostly just a timing question (as to when the benefit occurs).”

If the first $10,000 of an RMD is free of taxes, that would indeed benefit many retirees.

J.F. asked: “Why are RMDs based equally on male/female life expectancy?”

She explained: “I turned 70 1/2 last October, so I’ve just arranged to take my second RMD (I am self-employed and choose to take the money in the April/May quarter, which is less income than in other quarters in terms of making quarterly tax payments).

“My financial adviser tells me that the feds figure the amount having to be withdrawn each year on the SAME life expectancy for males and females, to which I say, ‘WHAT???’ Everyone knows that women tend to outlive men, so when I ‘joked’ that I guess the government wants women to end up dying broke, my adviser basically agreed.

“If they are going to make changes to retirement legislation, this needs to be fixed. Women have it against us our entire lives, apparently right up to and into the grave.

“Really, you just have to hope you DON’T live to be old ...”

Legislators, if you are listening, why aren’t the RMD tables gender-specific?

T.V. in San Jose, California, wrote: “I have a comment on RMDs since I have been under that law for eight years now, and the [dollar amount] keeps getting smaller so I have to take out more each year. My concern is this: At the end of a particular year, the market is doing very well, and my calculation is to take X number of dollars out the next year, and then the next year, the market completely tanks, and I won’t even have enough money to take out based on the previous calculations. This could be disastrous for retired people depending on their IRA. Maybe this possibility should be made public and mentioned to our lawmakers. I like your idea of eliminating the RMD completely.”

Indeed, market fluctuations affect the amount of the mandated withdrawals. Each and every year, the amount of the withdrawal is calculated based on the end of the previous year’s balance.

The SECURE Act is being considered by the Senate now. Don’t hesitate to share comments with your senator. Go to senate.gov/ and click on “Find Your Senators” for a drop-down listing by state.

Let me share a correction to last week’s column about 529 plans: An earlier version of H.R. 1994 contained a provision that included home schooling. That was not in the bill that passed the House.

Julie Jason, a personal money manager and author, can be reached at readers@juliejason.com. To hear Julie speak, visit juliejason.com/events.