How will it affect your benefits if lawmakers make significant changes to retirement plans?

Significant adjustments are included in the $1.7 trillion government budget approved by both chambers of Congress last week. These changes are intended to encourage people to increase their retirement contributions. Retirement reform legislation is the first section of the lengthy, 4,155-page statute, which funds the federal government through September 2023, starting on page 2,046.


The Secure Act of 2019’s improvements to the retirement system are intended to be built upon by the legislature, known as SECURE 2.0. These changes included raising the minimum age for certain retirement funds’ minimum distribution from 70 1/2 to 72 years old and extending access to retirement benefits to part-time workers.

Nearly half of older workers do not have any retirement savings, prompting the most recent program changes. More than six in 10 non-retirees fear running out of cash more than death, according to research done earlier this year by Allianz Life. Here is an example of what the new program changes may achieve.

1. 401(k)

Employers would be required to contribute at least 3%, and not more than 10% of pre-tax earnings to their 401(k) plans on behalf of all eligible workers.

Employees may now choose whether or not to participate in 401(k) plans; if they don’t want to, they can opt out. The regulation would not apply to businesses with fewer than ten employees or those in business for less than three years. These specific changes will go into effect on or after December 31, 2024.

2. Payments for Student Loans

Those who are now having trouble saving for retirement because of college debt may see a considerable improvement in 2024. This policy will allow employers to increase their matching retirement contributions by including an employee’s student loan payment.

Currently, companies merely match employee contributions. The policy would guarantee that staff members are making retirement investments and repaying student debt. This provision will go into force after December 31, 2023.

3. Unexpected Withdrawals

Employees already face tax and early withdrawal penalties of 10% if they take money out of their 401(k) before turning 59 1/2. With the new changes, the employee can obtain a tax refund if they pay back the withdrawal within three years, but they would still owe income tax on it in the year it was taken out.

If the withdrawal is not refunded, the employee won’t be qualified for another emergency withdrawal until the three-year payback term is through. The regulation will go into force after December 31, 2023.

4. Minimum Distributions 

The proposed legislation would modify the required minimum distributions, or RMDs, that retirees must take out each year under current law. RMDs must now be started at the age of 72. The average age would rise to 73 in January 2023, 74 in 2030, and 75 in 2033 under the bill.

5. Obtaining Saver’s Credit

The Saver’s Credit, which permits some lower-income people to get higher tax benefits while saving for retirement, has undergone new adjustments.

Under the new regulations, the government can match 50% of up to $2,000 in yearly retirement plan contributions made by employees who earn less than a specific level. Individuals must earn no more than $35,500, and married couples filing jointly must earn no more than $71,000. The new rules come into force on December 31, 2026.

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Craig E. Vukich is a 35 year retirement specialist and Financial Advisor who has helped thousands of clients all over the country with their investment portfolios and retirement strategies. In that time, Craig has also helped seniors and retirees with their Medicare options as healthcare continues to be one of the most confusing issues facing people today.Personally, Craig lives in Beaver Falls, Pa with his beautiful wife and childhood sweetheart Barb and their lovely daughter Shalyn.Craig is a graduate of Westminster College which is about an hour north of Pittsburgh. Craig is a recreational golfer and traveler and Pittsburgh sports fanatic.

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