Secure Act 2.0 Made Some Big Changes to Retirement Planning

| February 5, 2023 | 0 Comments

At almost the last minute of 2022, President Biden signed the Secure Act 2.0. It made a lot of big and small changes to financial planning over the next few years. Here are some of the highlights that go into effect in 2023 and 2024.  

Changes to Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). Probably the biggest, most immediate impact of the Secure Act 2.0 is that the start date for Required Minimum Distributions from retirement accounts in 2023 is now 73. If you were born between 1951 and 1959, your RMDs begin in the year you turn 73. If you were born in 1960 or later, your RMDs will begin the year you turn 75. Another important change is that the steep 50 percent penalty for failing to take your RMD has been reduced to 25 percent and can be further reduced to 10 percent if you take your distribution and file a corrected tax return in a timely manner. In addition, Roth accounts in employer plans will be exempt from RMDs starting in 2024.

Changes to Employer Retirement Plans. Beginning in 2023, if your employer has a SEP or SIMPLE IRA, you may now be able to contribute to a Roth version of those small business retirement plans instead. This would mean that you forgo the tax deduction for those IRA contributions, but the earnings on that IRA will not be taxed in the future. Employers are now also allowed to make matching contributions to Roth accounts inside 401k plans. These matching contributions would be taxable income, so you’ll want to think about how that would impact your tax return if you do this.

Qualified Longevity Annuities get a boost. A Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC) is a special annuity contract that can be purchased with retirement funds. The QLAC doesn’t start to pay out until as late as your 85th birthday, but also isn’t included in your RMD calculation. They’re designed to shift your income to help provide a safety net later in life. The maximum amount you can put into a QLAC was raised from $145,000 to $200,000 and the annual limit is now indexed for inflation.

Changes to Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs). The charities eligible to receive QCDs now includes Charitable Remainder Trusts and Charitable Gift Annuities. If you are over 70½, you can gift up to $50,000 from your IRA directly to these specialized philanthropic vehicles.

529 Plan to Roth IRA. Starting in 2024, you can shift up to $6,500 per year (to a maximum of $35,000) of unused funds from a 529 plan to a Roth IRA for the plan beneficiary. There are important restrictions, like the plan having to be in place for at least 15 years, but this does help ease the concern some parents may have about ‘over-saving’ for college.

Emergency Savings Accounts. Starting in 2024, employers will be able to offer a Roth-eligible emergency savings account. Contributions and withdrawals would be limited, and the account could only invest in very low-risk investments.

Student Loan Payment “matching”. Starting in 2024, employers will be able to “match” employee student loan payments by making matching payments to retirement accounts.

The biggest takeaway besides the changes to the Required Minimum Distribution rules is the multitude of changes to retirement plan options. Business owners will want to review these and other changes with their plan administrators to see which options are a good fit for their business and their employees.

Again, if you were born after 1951, the rules surrounding your retirement plan distributions have changed dramatically, so you should review your financial plan with your advisor to see how these changes will impact your retirement income strategy.

This column is prepared by Rick Brooks, CFA®, CFP®. Rick is director/investment management with Blankinship & Foster, LLC, a wealth advisory firm specializing in financial planning and investment management for people preparing for retirement. Brooks can be reached at (858) 755-5166, or by email at Brooks and his family live in Mission Hills.

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Category: Business, Finance, Government, Local News, National News, Seniors

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