Guest Writer of the Month for January 2020

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The SECURE Act of 2019

The SECURE Act of 2019 is a broad bill with the purpose of increasing access to tax-advantaged retirement accounts in order to prevent retirees from outliving their assets. It mostly impacts those already in retirement or close to it.

1. RMD Relief: Previously, IRA and employer-sponsored retirement plan holders were required to start taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from age 70½ to age 72. This will give retirees more time to let their savings grow tax-free.

2. More Planning Opportunities for Roth IRAs: The change in the RMD age described above means account holders will have an extra two years to do a Roth IRA conversion. This can be important because unlike traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs are not subject to RMDs during the taxpayer’s lifetime.

3. More Chances to Save: Previously tax-deductible IRA contributions were forbidden after age 70½. The SECURE Act gets rid of this restriction, so if you are still earning money in your 70s and onward, you’ll have the opportunity to save into a deductible IRA.

4. Easier for Small Businesses to Establish Retirement Plans: The SECURE Act allows a greater number of small businesses to join up to give employees Multiple Employer Plans (or MEPs) starting in 2021. This eases the administrative burden and costs of offering retirement plans. The hope is that more small employers will begin to offer plans.

5. Guaranteed Income for Life: Employers will now be able to allow employees to change their retirement plan savings into annuities without the fear of a lawsuit being filed against them – in the case the insurer they pick fails to pay the annuity payments.

6. Removes “Stretch” Provisions: Prior to the SECURE Act, traditional IRA beneficiaries typically had to take RMDs over their own life expectancy, extending the tax benefits of the retirement account. Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, the SECURE Act changes this rule. Now, most beneficiaries only have 10 years to liquidate their entire inherited retirement account (with some exemptions, such as surviving spouses and minor children).