Big RMD Changes and 11 Other Retirement Planning Headlines from SECURE 2.0 and the Omnibus Spending Bill

It has been said that nothing happens in Washington. However, the Omnibus Spending Bill has passed with lots of sweeping legislation, including big changes almost immediately to retirement plans. Included in the Bill is the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) 2.0  Act. And, a key provision of the Act, new RMD ages, is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023 (next week).

Omnibus Spending Bill Secure Act 2.0

Below are 12+ of the 90 some changes in the Omnibus bill that could impact your retirement plans. (Here is a full breakdown of the over 4,000 page $1.7 trillion bill.)

NOTE and UPDATE: The bill has passed and we at NewRetirement are making every effort to update the NewRetirement Planner with the new RMD rules by January 1 or soon thereafter. 

1. Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Ages on IRAs Are Being Increased

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are mandatory withdrawals that must be made from IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and employer retirement savings plans like 401ks after a certain age. The RMD rules are designed to make sure that people spend a portion of their retirement savings during their lifetimes, making the accounts tax-deferred, not tax-free.

Depending on your birth date, the RMD age is increasing as follows, if you are born: 

  • Before 1/1/1951, your RMDs have already started and nothing changes
  • Between 1/1/1951 and 12/31/1959, then your RMDs must start at age 73 
  • After 1/1/1960, then your RMDs will begin at age 75

Delaying the start of RMDs can be helpful to some people. If you can afford to leave your money untouched, it could reduce your near term taxes and retain the money for future use. However, the delay may increase future taxes as it may require withdrawing a greater amount over a shorter time period.  

What impact will the change have for you? These changes could impact your future income and taxes. 

Use the NewRetirement Planner to:

2. Penalties for Not Taking RMDs Are Being Reduced

The penalty for not taking RMDs is getting reduced.

Currently there is a steep 50% excise penalty if you do not take your distributions. That would be reduced to 25%, and lowered further to 10% if the error is corrected “in a timely manner.” 

The reduced penalties would take effect immediately after the passage of the law. 

3. Increases to Catch Up Savings Contribution Limits

IRAs and 401ks have contribution limits, meaning that the tax advantages apply only up to a certain amount that is saved into each plan. When you turn 50, you are eligible for higher contribution limits in the form of “catch up” contributions.

Currently people 50 and over can contribute an additional $1,000 to their retirement accounts each year over the standard limit. Starting in 2024, instead of a flat $1,000 more, older Americans would be able to contribute an additional amount that is indexed to inflation.

Beginning in 2025, SECURE 2.0 would increase those limits to the greater of $10,000 or 50% more than the regular catch-up amount if you are 60, 61, 62, or 63 years old. After 2025, those amounts would be indexed for inflation.

4. More Opportunities for Emergency Savings in Employee Accounts

Currently there are legal barriers that prevent employers from automatically enrolling employees in emergency savings accounts within 401k plans. The new legislation allows employees to save up to $2,500 in a rainy-day Roth account that could be withdrawn free of taxes and without the early withdrawal penalty.

Emergency savings are critical to both short and long term financial wellness.

5. You Will Be Able to Rollover from 529 Accounts to Roth IRAs

Good news if you have a 529 plan in your name and no future education expenses. 

Section 126 of the bill will enable some tax- and penalty-free rollovers from 529 college savings plans to Roth IRAs. The beneficiary of a 529 plan could roll over up to $35,000 over the course of their lifetime from any 529 account in their name to their Roth IRA, subject to Roth IRA annual contribution limits and the 529 account must have been open for more than 15 years.

6. Requires Automatic Enrollment in New Retirement Accounts

Currently, enrollment in your company’s retirement savings plan is something you have to proactively sign up for. 

In an effort to boost retirement savings plan participation, the Omnibus legislation will require most new 401(k) or 403(b) plans to automatically enroll workers and save at least 3% and up to 10% of their pay starting in 2025. It will also raise the savings rate by 1% a year until it hits 10% to 15%.

Automatic enrollment has been shown to increase savings plan participation. It is important to note that workers are allowed to opt out.

7. Enables Employer Match to Retirement Savings if Employee is Paying Down a Student Loan

Right now, if your employer offers matching, it means that they will match or contribute funds equal to a certain amount that you save into your retirement savings account

However, many employees struggle to pay off student loans as well as save for retirement. In fact, a 2019 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Age Lab and financial services organization TIAA found that 84% of adults said student loans limited the amount they’re able to save for retirement.

The new bill will allow employers to make a matching contribution to an employee’s retirement plan based on their qualified student loan payments.

This provision will take effect on Dec. 31, 2023.

8. There Will Be a Big Increase for QLAC

The amount of IRA money that can be used to buy a Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (“QLAC”) is increasing. A QLAC is a deferred annuity that you fund with qualified retirement savings. 

Currently, the maximum that can go into a QLAC is either $135,000 or 25% of the value of your retirement accounts, whichever is less. Secure 2.0 eliminates the 25% cap and increases the maximum amount allowed in a QLAC to $200,000. 

9. Some 401k Funds Can Be Used to Pay Premiums for Long Term Care Insurance

The bill would enable 401k plan participants to use up to 10% of their “nonforfeitable accrued benefits,” or up to $2,500 of the total, to pay premiums for inflation-adjusted long-term care insurance coverage so long as the insurance meets federal quality standards.

Long term care can be prohibitively expensive and can quickly eat through retirement savings. Planning for the possibility of this expense is fiscally wise and can improve your peace of mind about your future.

Learn more about the costs of long term care, the costs of long term care insurance and alternatives to insurance.

10. Some Penalty Free Emergency Withdrawals from Retirement Accounts Will Become Enabled

The new bill will enable withdrawals of up to $1,000 per year, to be repaid within three years. (However, no additional withdrawals can be made during the repayment period.)

This provision is designed to make tax-deferred retirement savings more flexible in the hope of persuading more people to save. 

11. You Will Be Able to Search for Lost Retirement Benefits

The SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 will direct the Department of Labor to create a searchable database to help people retirement benefits that they may have lost track of. The database will not be available for another year or two. Here are some tips for tracking down benefits now: How to Find Out If You Have Lost or Forgotten Retirement Accounts 

12. Companies Will Be Able to Offer Savings Incentives

The new bill would allow your employer to offer small financial incentives (like a gift card) to help boost participation in employer sponsored retirement savings plans.

Remember, Re Evaluate Your Plans When (If) The Omnibus Bill and SECURE 2.0 Pass

If you haven’t started RMDs, the changes in the Omnibus Bill are likely to impact your plans. Be sure to assess your future retirement income, taxes and any Roth conversion plans if the Bill passes.

The NewRetirement Planner will be updated as soon as possible.

NewRetirement Planner

Do it yourself retirement planning: easy, comprehensive, reliable

NewRetirement Planner

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