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Planning For Your Retirement – New Wrinkles From The Secure 2.0 Act

The SECURE 2.0 Act, signed into law in late 2022, aims to give Americans a significant boost in their retirement savings. This act introduces various changes to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and employer-sponsored retirement plans, making saving for retirement easier and more accessible. Here’s a breakdown of some key provisions that will impact your retirement planning:

Encouraging More Savings:

  • Increased Catch-up Contributions: Workers aged 50 and older can now sock away more money in their retirement accounts. The annual contribution limit for catch-up contributions will gradually increase to $10,000 for those aged 60 to 63 starting in 2025.
  • Matching Contributions in Roth Accounts: Employers can now offer Roth options for employer matching and catch-up contributions. With Roth contributions, you contribute after-tax dollars, but qualified withdrawals in retirement are tax-free.
  • Small Financial Incentives: Employers can provide minimal financial incentives, like gift cards, to nudge employees towards participating in their retirement plans.
  • Automatic Enrollment and Increased Contributions: Starting in 2024, most employers will be required to automatically enroll eligible workers in their 401(k) or 403(b) plans, with an initial contribution rate of at least 3%. This contribution will automatically increase by 1% each year, reaching at least 10% but not exceeding 15%.

Making Participation Easier:

  • Reduced Waiting Period for Long-Term Part-Time Workers: Employers will be required to allow long-term part-time workers to participate in their retirement plans after two years of service, instead of the previous three-year requirement. This change applies starting in 2025.

Changes to Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs):

  • Gradual Increase in RMD Age: The age at which RMDs begin has been pushed back. Individuals will now be required to take their first RMD at age 73, starting in 2023. This age will further increase to 75 in 2033.
  • Reduced Penalty for Missing RMDs: The penalty for failing to take a required minimum distribution has been reduced from 50% to 25% of the amount not withdrawn. There’s also a path to reduce the penalty to 10% if the mistake is corrected promptly.

Emergency Savings Option in Retirement Plans:

  • Emergency Savings Accounts: Employers can now offer emergency savings accounts linked to their retirement plans. These accounts allow employees to save for unexpected expenses without dipping into their retirement savings. Contributions are made with after-tax dollars and may be Roth-like, potentially offering tax benefits in retirement.
  • Penalty-Free Withdrawals for Domestic Violence Survivors: To help victims of domestic abuse access funds, the SECURE 2.0 Act permits penalty-free withdrawals of up to $10,000 or 50% of the vested account balance, whichever is less, from their retirement plans.

Additional Distribution Options:

  • Penalty-Free Withdrawals for Disaster Relief: Individuals living in federally declared disaster areas can now withdraw up to $22,000 from their retirement plans to cover expenses, with the option to spread out the tax payments over three years.
  • Penalty-Free Withdrawals for Terminally Ill Individuals: Employees with a terminal illness can now access their retirement savings penalty-free upon certification from a doctor.
  • Penalty-Free Withdrawals for Long-Term Care: Starting in December 2025, individuals can make penalty-free withdrawals of up to $2,500 from their retirement plans to cover long-term care expenses.

Remember, this article is just a starting point. The SECURE 2.0 Act includes many more provisions. If you have questions about how these changes impact your specific situation, it’s wise to consult with a financial advisor.

By understanding these changes, you can make informed decisions to reach your retirement goals.

JS Morlu LLC is a top-tier accounting firm based in Woodbridge, Virginia, with a team of highly experienced and qualified CPAs and business advisors. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive accounting, tax, and business advisory services to clients throughout the Washington, D.C. Metro Area and the surrounding regions. With over a decade of experience, we have cultivated a deep understanding of our clients’ needs and aspirations. We recognize that our clients seek more than just value-added accounting services; they seek a trusted partner who can guide them towards achieving their business goals and personal financial well-being.
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