Secure Act 101

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By Jill on Money with Jill Schlesinger. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

After I wrote about the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, I received a slew of questions from readers.

So to help clear up some of the confusion, we’re bringing on IRA guru Ed Slott. (Ed will also join us for a tax season related episode)

The Secure Act includes significant changes to retirement accounts, including:

Age Limit Eliminated for Traditional IRA Contributions

Beginning in 2020, the new law eliminates the age limit for traditional IRA contributions (formerly 70 ½). Now, those who are still working can continue to contribute to a traditional IRA, regardless of their age.

RMD Age Raised to 72

The SECURE Act also raises the age for beginning RMDs to 72 for all retirement accounts subject to RMDs. IRA owners reaching age 70 ½ in 2020 catch a break and will not have to take their first RMD in 2020 now that the RMD deadline has been extended to age 72.

New Exception to the 10% Penalty for Birth or Adoption

The SECURE Act adds a new 10% penalty exception for birth or adoption, but the distribution is still subject to tax. It is limited to $5,000 over a lifetime. The birth or adoption distribution amount can be repaid at any future time (re-contributed back to any retirement account).

IRA Contributions with Fellowship and Stipend Payments

Additionally, the new law allows taxable non-tuition fellowship and stipend payments to be treated as compensation to qualify for an IRA (or Roth IRA) contribution.

Employer Liability Protection for Annuities in Plans

The SECURE Act provides a safe harbor for employer liability protection for offering annuities in an employer plan. This is expected to open the door for more annuity products to be available as investment choices in employer plans.

Good Bye, Stretch IRA

Beginning for deaths after December 31, 2019, the stretch IRA is replaced with a ten year rule for the vast majority of beneficiaries. The rule requires accounts to be emptied by the end of the tenth year following the year of death. There are no annual RMDs. Instead, the only RMD on an inherited IRA is the balance at the end of the 10 years after death. For deaths in 2019 or prior years, the old rules would remain in place.

There are five classes of “eligible designated beneficiaries” who are exempt from the 10-year post-death payout rule and can still stretch RMDs over life expectancy. These include surviving spouses, minor children, disabled individuals, the chronically ill, and beneficiaries not more than ten years younger than the IRA owner.

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