How New SECURE 2.0 Rules Affect Your Retirement Plans


People with retirement accounts will find that the new rules established by Secure 2.0 have led to a more relaxed attitude. Overall, it means that some things you could not do before without a penalty are allowed now. The rules affect individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k)s, Roth accounts, and other retirement plans.

All aspects of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act 2.0 will not be implemented simultaneously. Some new rules applied to retirement plans in 2023, but more will be introduced from 2024 through 2027.

New Age Set for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

As of 2023, you must start taking RMDs when you turn 73. In about 10 years (2033), the age requirement will change again, making it necessary to start withdrawals at 75. If you fail to withdraw an RMD or do not withdraw enough, the amount you should have withdrawn will have a 25 percent penalty, which was 50 percent before 2023.

Roth accounts—Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s—no longer have any RMDs as of 2024. Both accounts also let you continue to make contributions as long as you are working and will continue earning tax-free interest.

New Rules for Hardship Withdrawals

Sooner or later, everyone will have a hardship of some kind where money is needed quickly. According to Kiplinger, starting in 2024, employees can make emergency withdrawals of up to $1,000 once a year without any penalties.

Borrowers have the option to pay it back, but if they do not, they cannot make another emergency withdrawal for three years. Limited withdrawals will also be allowed without penalties in cases of domestic abuse.

Emergency Savings Accounts

Starting in 2024, employers may offer emergency savings accounts within a Roth retirement plan that permits employees to make after-tax contributions. ADP says there is a cap of $2,500 on these accounts. Employees can make withdrawals monthly without any penalties. Employers cannot contribute to the savings element of the plan but can contribute to the retirement plan.

Changes in Catch-Up Rules

If you are between the ages of 60 and 63, you are now allowed to make bigger catch-up contributions to a (401(k), 403(b), or an IRA. Principal says you can contribute up to $10,000 to a 401(k) or 403(b). If you have an IRA, you can contribute up to $5,000 as a catch-up contribution.

High-income earners 50 or older making $145,000 or more must put their catch-up contributions into a Roth IRA. Money going into Roth accounts is post-tax, but all growth is nontaxable. Although this new rule was supposed to start in 2024, it has been postponed until 2026.

Larger Mandatory Cash-Out Distribution

When you are going to leave a job, there is now a mandatory cash-out of a retirement savings plan if it is under a certain size. Before 2024, if your account was less than $5,000, it had to be cashed out. In 2024, any account smaller than $7,000 will have to be cashed out when you leave. Forbes mentions that you can also have it transferred to a new retirement account at your new employer, making it easier to keep track of a single account.

Automatic Enrollment Required by Employers

Too many Americans, Forbes reports, have little money in retirement savings accounts. Only 75 percent have any savings toward that goal (25 percent have no savings), and most of them feel they are not saving enough. As a result, starting in 2025, Congress requires that all employers enroll their employees automatically in a retirement plan at 3 percent of their salary. It will increase by 1 percent each year until it reaches 10 percent.

Small businesses (with 10 or fewer employees), churches, and businesses not yet three years old are exempt from this rule. Employees can choose to opt-out if they do not want to participate.

Employers Can Help With Student Loan Debt

While students or graduates are paying back student loans, it can be difficult to put money into retirement savings. CNN says that the SECURE Act 2.0 aims to solve that problem by allowing employers to provide matching contributions for amounts paid to reduce student loan debt.

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The employer deposits the contribution into the employee’s retirement plan, whether a 401(k), a SIMPLE IRA, or a 403(b). This plan starts in 2024.

Changes in 529 Education Plans

People contributing to a 529 plan for a student now have a new option. In the past, money could sit in an account for a long time because the benefactor may not have wanted to go to college or did not use all the money. Because of changes allowed by SECURE 2.0, money still in the account after 15 years can be transferred to the beneficiary’s Roth IRA. Contribution limits still apply, and the maximum amount is $35,000.

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)

In 2023, SECURE Act 2.0 permitted individuals 70½ or older to make a charitable distribution from an IRA of up to $100,000. It does not matter that they are not yet 73. A qualified charitable distribution is referred to as a split-interest gift because it enables the owner of the IRA to get a tax break and still get cash from the money donated.

Some of the benefits of a QCD, Forbes says, are that the money can be deducted directly from your income, which reduces your adjusted gross income (AGI). They also are not affected by the limits set for charitable deductions.
Because it reduces your AGI, it can also reduce any Medicare surcharge penalties—the income-related monthly adjusted amount (IRMAA) limits. An even better benefit is that you are allowed, starting in 2024, to use the QCD as a one-time contribution to a charitable remainder annuity trust (CRAT), a charitable gift annuity (CGA), or a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT). Ernst & Young says that at least 5 percent of the money must go to the donor and/or the spouse.

The benefits granted under SECURE 2.0 make saving for retirement even more attractive and give more tax breaks. Talk to a financial planner or an estate planning attorney to learn more about your best tax options.

The Epoch Times copyright © 2024. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.


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