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Breaking News: Significant Changes to Retirement Savings in the United States

ARTICLE | April 26, 2023

Title: The SECURE Act 2.0: Enhancing Retirement Savings Opportunities for Americans


The SECURE Act 2.0, an update to the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019, brings significant changes to retirement savings in the United States. This legislation aims to increase access, participation, and preservation of retirement savings for Americans. The Act contains numerous provisions that can impact individuals and employers, including changes to required minimum distributions (RMDs), automatic enrollment, catch-up contributions, and more. This article provides an overview of the key provisions of the SECURE Act 2.0 and their implications on retirement planning.

Changes to Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

One of the most notable provisions in the SECURE Act 2.0 is the increase in the age at which individuals must begin taking RMDs from their retirement accounts. The Act raises the age from 72 to 73 starting in 2023 and further to 75 in 2033. This change allows retirement savings to grow for a longer period before distributions are required, potentially resulting in larger account balances at the time of withdrawal.

In addition to raising the RMD age, the SECURE Act 2.0 also reduces the penalties for not taking RMDs on time. Previously, individuals faced a penalty of 50% of the amount not distributed. Under the new law, this penalty is reduced to 25% and can be further reduced to 10% for those who take the distribution and file an amended income tax return promptly.

Automatic Enrollment and Portability for Retirement Plans

The SECURE Act 2.0 mandates that employers who establish a new 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan starting in 2025 must include automatic enrollment for all eligible employees. This provision aims to increase participation in retirement plans, particularly among younger workers who may not recognize the importance of early saving. Initial contributions must range between 3% and 10% of pretax earnings, with an automatic increase of 1% each subsequent year until the contribution reaches 10% to 15% of the employee's compensation.

Small businesses with ten or fewer employees and newly-established companies are exempt from the automatic enrollment requirement. Employees can opt-out of contributing to a retirement plan or choose to contribute a different amount than the default.

To facilitate the transfer of retirement accounts when employees change jobs, the SECURE Act 2.0 allows service providers to offer plan sponsors automatic portability services. This provision aims to prevent employees from cashing out their retirement accounts when transitioning to new employment.

Expanded Catch-Up Retirement Savings Options

The SECURE Act 2.0 increases catch-up contributions for older workers, allowing them to save more for retirement. Starting in 2025, individuals aged 60 to 63 can make catch-up contributions of up to $10,000 per year (indexed to inflation) or 150% of the standard catch-up contribution, whichever is greater, to an employer-sponsored plan. Additionally, from 2024, the $1,000 catch-up contribution for IRAs for workers over 50 will be indexed to inflation.

However, income limits may affect how catch-up contributions are made. Individuals over 50 who earned more than $145,000 in the previous year can only make contributions to a Roth account using after-tax dollars, meaning those contributions are not tax-deductible. The $145,000 income limit will be indexed annually to inflation.

Student Loan Matching and New Qualified Charitable Distribution Opportunities

Starting in 2024, the SECURE Act 2.0 enables employers to match employees' student loan payments with contributions to a retirement account in the same amount. This provision aims to encourage younger workers with student loans to save for retirement.

The Act also expands the scope of Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) by allowing individuals aged 70½ or older to make one-time gifts of up to $50,000 to certain charitable entities, such as charitable remainder annuity trusts (CRATs), charitable remainder unitrusts (CRUTs), or charitable gift annuities. This change provides additional options for tax-efficient charitable giving.


The SECURE Act 2.0 brings significant changes to retirement savings in the United States, offering new opportunities and incentives for individuals and employers. By understanding these changes and their implications, individuals can make informed decisions about their retirement planning and take advantage of the enhanced savings opportunities offered by the Act.

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