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By Carey Thompson
Founding Attorney

The SECURE Act has transformed American retirement planning with its sweeping changes. This legislation affects how you save, when you can access your funds, and the way your retirement assets are handled after you pass. It adjusts the age for required minimum distributions and modifies rules for inherited retirement accounts, offering new opportunities and presenting challenges. Here’s a closer look at how these changes could impact your financial strategy for retirement.

What Is The SECURE Act?

The SECURE Act, standing for Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, was enacted to address the evolving retirement landscape. This legislation aims to provide Americans with greater flexibility and more opportunities to save for their retirement. It extends the age for required minimum distributions from retirement accounts, making it easier for individuals to grow their savings longer. Additionally, it introduces changes to the rules governing inherited retirement accounts, potentially affecting estate planning strategies. By encouraging small businesses to set up retirement plans for their employees, the SECURE Act also broadens access to retirement savings options, aiming to secure a financially stable future for more Americans.

Key Provisions of the SECURE Act

  • Increase in Age for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): The SECURE Act raises the age for starting required minimum distributions from retirement accounts from 70½ to 72. This change allows more time for retirement savings to grow, offering a significant benefit to those not needing to draw from these accounts immediately upon reaching retirement age.
  • Changes to Inherited Retirement Accounts: The act imposes a new rule requiring most non-spouse beneficiaries to withdraw the entire balance of an inherited retirement account within 10 years of the account holder’s death. This accelerates the distribution period, potentially affecting tax liabilities and estate planning strategies.
  • Expansion of Access to Retirement Plans: Small businesses are now incentivized through tax credits to establish retirement plans for their employees. The act makes it easier and more cost-effective for small employers to offer 401(k) plans, aiming to increase the number of Americans who have access to retirement savings programs.
  • Removal of Age Limits for IRA Contributions: The SECURE Act eliminates the age restriction for contributing to traditional IRAs, previously set at 70½ years. This means individuals can continue to contribute to their IRAs regardless of their age, as long as they have earned income. This change opens up new opportunities for older Americans to increase their retirement savings.
  • Penalty-Free Withdrawals for Childbirth or Adoption: The SECURE Act allows penalty-free withdrawals of up to $5,000 from retirement accounts for expenses related to childbirth or adoption. This provision offers financial flexibility for families growing through these life events, recognizing the need for accessible funds during these significant times.

How Will It Affect Your Retirement Planning?

The SECURE Act introduces changes that demand a reevaluation of your retirement planning. For example, with the age for required minimum distributions pushed back, you might consider adjusting the timing of your withdrawals and investment strategies to optimize tax benefits and ensure your savings last longer. The new rules for inherited retirement accounts require a careful review of your estate planning, especially if you plan to leave assets to non-spouse beneficiaries. Adapting to these changes is crucial for maximizing your retirement savings and achieving your long-term financial goals.

Help with Your Retirement Planning

At the Law Office of Carey Thompson, we’re committed to helping you understand and adapt to the changes brought by the SECURE Act. Our personalized approach ensures your retirement planning is both compliant and optimized for your future. Reach out to us for guidance on securing your financial legacy and making the most of your retirement savings.

About the Author
Carey Thompson has been practicing Social Security Disability Law Since 2008 after he graduated from Texas Wesleyan School of Law, now known as Texas A&M school of Law in Fort Worth, TX.  While at Texas Wesleyan he served on Law Review.  Prior to going to Law School, Mr. Thompson was a High School Band Director for four years using his degree in Music Education from Michigan State University.  Prior to Attending Michigan State, he attended Aledo Schools from Kindergarten to graduate.  Mr.Thompson feels strongly about serving the people of Tarrant County.