You would think that cramming a last-minute spending bill through on the 23rd of December would be enough for the Congress. You’d be wrong. The Appropriation Bill also included what was previously known as SECURE 2.0. SECURE 1.0 was passed in 2020 and included significant changes to retirement accounts. SECURE 2.0 adds to those changes. In comparison SECURE 1.0 included very significant changes to the tax code and treatment of retirement accounts. SECURE 2.0 related changes aren’t as significant but there are a LOT of them. I’ll give you a summary of some of the changes.
Required Minimum Distributions (RMD).
The Required Beginning Date (RBD) for RMDs changed. Currently the RBD is age 72. For those born between 1951 – 1959 the RBD is now 73. For those born in 1960 and later the RBD is age 75. Many of us will need to take distributions to live on before that age. Others will have the opportunity to make Roth conversions for a longer period of time and potentially reduce future taxes (especially in the case of a surviving spouse).
Roth IRAs do not have a RBD or RMDs. That isn’t the case for ROTH 401(k)s and their cousins (403(b), TSP, 457). SECURE 2.0 changed that and now these accounts don’t have RMDs either. This significantly reduces one of the main incentives to roll Roth balances from an employer account to a Roth IRA.
One of the major changes is that now your employer can make their contributions (matching and non-elective contributions) to a Roth account. That means that contributions and earnings will be tax-free when withdrawn. That also means the contributions will be added to your taxable income in the year they are made.
Speaking of Roth, starting in 2024 if you are age 50 or older and your wages from your employer in the prior year exceed $145,000 your catch-up contributions must go into a Roth account. I suppose the IRS wants your money now. If your employer doesn’t offer a Roth option, you can’t make catch-up contributions if your income exceeded the limit.
One objection I hear about 529 plans is there aren’t a lot of good options if you don’t use the funds in the plan for education expenses. That changes in 2024. You can transfer (directly) from a 529 plan to a Roth IRA. There are restrictions.
- The Roth IRA must be in the name of the beneficiary of the 529 plan (beneficiary can be you)
- The Beneficiary must have compensation
- The 529 plan must have been maintained for 15 years or longer
- The contributions and the earnings on them made within 5 years aren’t eligible
- Annual limit of conversions equals IRA contribution limit (minus any regular IRA contributions)
- Roth IRA income limits do NOT apply
- Maximum lifetime transfer limited to $35,000
It might be worth it to open a 529 plan in your name with a small balance to keep this option open.
Dogs and Cats
- Starting in 2024 IRA catch-up contribution limits will be indexed to inflation. If you haven’t noticed the catch up for IRAs has been at $1,000 forever.
- Starting in 2025 there will be a super catch-up contribution limit for those turning 60 - 63 during the year. This applies to 401(k) plans and their cousins. The math to calculate the amount is a little complicated. Suffice it to say, it will be more than the normal catch-up and your employer will likely tell you how much it is. There is a similar provision for SIMPLE IRAs.
- There are several added scenarios where you can get funds out of a retirement plan without a penalty. These start at the end of 2025. Scenarios include domestic abuse, long-term care, and emergencies.
- They finally fixed something that really chapped my hide. If you corrected an excess contribution to an IRA by taking out the contribution and earnings, you were subject to an early withdrawal penalty on the earnings. This was true even though you are required to take out the earnings or pay a penalty. Going forward, that penalty will not be assessed on the earnings.
- Penalties for missed RMDs have been significantly reduced.
Wrapping it Up
As with any new legislation, we need to wait for the IRS to write the regs to know all the details. Also, some of the above changes are things an employer can do but isn’t required to do so (like Roth matching). We’ll keep monitoring the changes.
Military Finances are Different
The tax code has a lot of special provisions for Active and Retired Military Members. SECURE 2.0 even included one that helps military spouses get access to 401(k) plans. Most financial advisors/planners aren't aware of the many financial differences between an Active or Retired Senior Military Officer or NCO has compared to his or her civilian peer. That's why we think you should work with someone who deals with your issues each and every day. Use the button below to schedule a free initial consultation to find out how we help people like you.
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