A Timeline of Secure Act 2.0 Changes for 2023

Senior,couple,communicating,with,insurance,agent,while,having,consultations,withAt this time of writing, we find ourselves in a period of significant changes in retirement planning, thanks to the Secure Act 2.0. This landmark legislation introduces a series of amendments aimed at enhancing the retirement system and bolstering Americans’ financial preparedness for retirement. The Secure Act 2.0 builds upon its predecessor, introducing several critical changes that will affect individuals at different stages of their retirement planning journey. In this blog, we’ll delve into the key highlights of Secure Act 2.0 and explore how these changes may impact your retirement planning.

For People in or Near Retirement

1. Big Changes to RMDs

One of the most noticeable alterations is the increase in the age at which individuals must start taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from their retirement accounts. As of January 1, 2023, the age for commencing RMDs has been raised to 73, offering an additional year of flexibility for retirees. For those who turned 72 in 2022 or earlier, it’s crucial to continue taking RMDs as scheduled. Notably, RMD age requirements will further rise to 75 by 2033. Moreover, the penalty for failing to take an RMD has been reduced from 50% to 25% of the RMD amount not taken, with the possibility of further reducing it to 10% if corrected promptly for IRAs. Additionally, Roth accounts in employer retirement plans will be exempt from RMD requirements starting in 2024, and excess annuity payments can be applied to the year’s RMD immediately.

2. Higher Catch-up Contributions

Starting from January 1, 2025, individuals aged 60 through 63 will be able to make catch-up contributions of up to $10,000 annually to workplace plans, with this amount indexed to inflation. This marks a substantial increase from the current catch-up limit of $7,500 for those aged 50 and older in 2023. Furthermore, in 2026, those earning more than $145,000 in the prior calendar year will need to make all catch-up contributions to a Roth account in after-tax dollars. However, those earning $145,000 or less, adjusted for inflation, will be exempt from this requirement. IRAs will also see changes, with the $1,000 catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over being indexed to inflation from 2024 onwards.

3. Matching for Roth Accounts

Employers will now have the option to offer employees vested matching contributions to Roth accounts, a significant change from the previous pre-tax basis for matching in employer-sponsored plans. While Roth IRAs are known for their flexibility, it’s essential to note that RMDs will still be required for Roth accounts in employer-sponsored plans until tax year 2024.

4. Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)

Beginning in 2023, individuals aged 70½ and older can now elect a one-time gift of up to $50,000 (adjusted for inflation) to specific charitable entities, expanding the options for charitable donations as part of their QCD limit. This new provision allows you to contribute directly from your IRA by the end of the calendar year, potentially satisfying your annual RMD obligation.

5. Other Changes for Annuities

Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLACs) have seen improvements as well. The dollar limitation for premiums has increased to $200,000, up from $145,000, effective January 1, 2023, removing the previous restriction that limited premiums to 25% of an individual’s retirement account balance.

For People Years Away from Retirement

6. Automatic Enrollment and Automatic Plan Portability

Secure Act 2.0 requires businesses adopting new 401(k) and 403(b) plans to automatically enroll eligible employees at a contribution rate of at least 3%, starting in 2025. Additionally, it allows retirement plan service providers to offer plan sponsors automatic portability services, enabling the seamless transfer of low-balance retirement accounts to new plans when changing jobs. This change is especially beneficial for those who tend to cash out their retirement plans when switching jobs, rather than continuing to save in another eligible retirement plan.

7. Emergency Savings

Defined contribution retirement plans now have the option to incorporate an emergency savings account as a designated Roth account that can accept participant contributions for non-highly compensated employees. Beginning in 2024, contributions are limited to $2,500 annually (or lower, as set by the employer), with the first four withdrawals in a year being tax- and penalty-free. Depending on the plan’s rules, contributions may be eligible for an employer match, providing a valuable tool for participants to save for short-term and unexpected expenses.

8. Student Loan Debt

Starting in 2024, employers will have the option to match employee student loan payments with contributions to a retirement account. This innovative approach offers workers an extra incentive to save for retirement while managing their educational loans.

9. 529 Plans

Secure Act 2.0 introduces a noteworthy change to 529 plans, allowing the rollover of plan assets to a Roth IRA for the beneficiary after 15 years, subject to annual Roth contribution limits and an aggregate lifetime limit of $35,000. However, rollovers cannot exceed the aggregate limit before the five-year period ending on the distribution date. This rollover is considered a contribution towards the annual Roth IRA contribution limit.


While Secure Act 2.0 presents increased opportunities to save for retirement and manage financial obligations, it’s essential to remember that everyone’s financial situation is unique. Consulting with a financial advisor or tax professional can help you understand how these changes apply to your specific circumstances and how to make the most of the new provisions. Secure Act 2.0 represents a significant step toward enhancing retirement security in the United States, and staying informed is key to making the most of these new opportunities for your financial future.

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