It simply wouldn’t be Christmas without a legislative gift from Congress. As I write this, one such bill is grinding its way through the House and Senate and is expected to land on the President’s desk for his signature before we ring in the new year. Weighing in at over 4,000 pages, it will most certainly land with an audible thud.
Professionally, my focus is on the key elements that affect near-term and current retirees. Starting on page 2,047 of this “all, but the kitchen sink” omnibus bill are the provisions known as the SECURE Act 2.0.
Similar to the original SECURE Act that became law a few years ago, SECURE Act 2.0 contains about a hundred provisions designed to enhance retirement saving. Key changes range from increasing the required minimum distribution age for IRA owners, to boosting the “catch-up” retirement plan contributions for near-term retirees, and requiring employers to automatically enroll employees into their retirement plans.
Beginning next year, the new age that triggers a required minimum distribution (RMD) from IRAs or other tax-deferred retirement accounts is increasing. It’s moving up in two stages. The new RMD age is increasing from age 72 to the magic age of 73. This new age milestone will stay in place for a decade. Eventually, starting in 2033, it’ll jump up again to age 75.
In addition, the penalty for failing to take out your RMD will finally be reduced from its currently massive level of 50% of your missed amount. Starting in 2023, the new penalty is set at a still very painful level of 25%. But, if you are able to fix your mistake quickly enough, the penalty could be further reduced to 10%. This is a welcome change.
Further, if you are fortunate enough to be able to support yourself for at least a little while with your non-Social Security and non-IRA income sources, this new RMD age of 73 now adds another year to your retirement “gap years” planning toolbox. The retirement “gap years” is the period of time between the end of your work life and the start of your Social Security and drawing from your IRAs. With SECURE Act 2.0, Congress has now added one additional planning year to analyze the possible tax benefits of both Roth conversions and realizing long-term capital gains at no federal tax.
As a wealth manager, I have to admit that Congress is truly the gift that keeps on giving in the form of job security!