The following changes were made by the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 (we'll use "the Act" from here on):

  • For the small business owner, the Act makes it easier to set up “safe harbor” retirement plans that are less expensive and easier to administer.
  • If you are a part-time worker, you are more likely to be able to participate in an employer retirement plan.
  • Approaching age 70-1/2? A major change to the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) and IRA contribution rules.
  • Most non-spouse beneficiaries of IRA accounts will no longer be able to stretch the distribution of the account over their lifetimes and instead must completely disburse the account in 10 years.
  • If you currently own a 401(k) plan, the Act allows those plans to offer annuities.

There are a lot of other changes incorporated in this Act, such as the ability to use 529-plan money to repay student loans and 401(k) withdrawals for having or adopting a child. There are also little-known but impactful surprises in the Act, such as a provision to allow IRA contributions past the previous age limit of 70-1/2 (if you have earned income), but those contributions affect the tax-free status of a qualified charitable distribution.

Read this article for a more comprehensive discussion of this important topic.