Many people have been troubled by the impact of the financial crisis on their savings. If you are retired, you probably know that there is an annual minimum distribution that you are required to take from your IRA if you are 70-1/2 or older, that is, you must take money out every year, or you are penalized on the funds. However, if you do not need the money to live on, you may consider it a disadvantage to have to cash something out at the moment, because you might want to leave your investments in place to recover, rather than sell them and make the paper loss into a real loss.
Although this requirement still applies to 2008 taxes, the rule has been suspended for 2009, which means that you are not penalized if you choose to leave your investments in place this year, and not take any money out. In that way, you can continue to get the tax advantages on the returns rather than being forced to sell when the markets are down.