The SECURE Act and Self-Directed Retirement Plans
The SECURE Act, signed into law on December 20, 2019, is comprehensive legislation written to expand retirement savings, simplify existing rules, preserve retirement income, and improve plan administration. SECURE stands for Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement.
The bill mostly makes significant changes to workplace retirement plans; other provisions affect retirement plans in general, including self-directed IRAs. Here is a look at some of the changes, effective January 1, 2020.
For those who own a self-directed Traditional or Roth IRA:
- Increase in RMD age for Traditional IRAs – The required minimum distribution age is now 72. Individuals who turn 70½ in 2020 would not be required to take a minimum distribution until April 1st of the year in which they turn 72. This only applies to individuals who turn 72 in 2020 or later.
- Contribute to your Traditional IRA longer – Workers age 70½ and older with earned income may now continue contributing to a Traditional IRA—and continue building up retirement savings. This only applies to individuals who are turning 70½ in 2020 and later.
- Tax penalty exemption for birth or adoption of a child – For a qualified birth or adoption, the account holder can withdraw a total of $5,000 as an early distribution without the 10% penalty, when the distribution occurs within one year of the event. Income taxes still apply.
- Graduate student IRA contributions – Certain payments to graduate and postdoctoral students will be treated as earned income for IRA contribution purposes.
- No more stretch IRAs – The lifetime distribution option for certain non-spousal IRA beneficiaries is now eliminated and most non-spouse inheritors who are more than 10 years younger than the deceased IRA owner will be required to take all distributions within 10 years. Exceptions include beneficiaries who, at the time of the account owner’s death, are:
- Disabled or have certain chronic illnesses
- Within 10 years of the decedent’s age
- Minors (10-year payout period begins upon reaching the age of majority)
- Recipients of certain annuitized payments begun before enactment of the SECURE Act.
For business owners who have a SEP IRA, Solo 401k, or other qualified retirement plan:
- Longer deadline to establish a plan – Now employers may establish a qualified plan as late as their business tax filing deadline, including extensions, rather than the last day of the company’s business year. This extension will not apply to certain plan provisions.
- Increase in small-employer plan startup credit – Up to $5,000 per year, effective for 2020 and later taxable years, for employers with up to 100 employees over a three-year period beginning after December 31, 2019. The credit applies to SEP, SIMPLE, 401(k), and profit-sharing plans.
- Automatic enrollment credit – Employers that include an automatic enrollment feature in their new or existing small 401(k) plans or SIMPLE IRA plans will get a maximum annual tax credit of $500 for each of the first three years that the plan is maintained. (Effective for 2020 and later taxable years.)
- Participation by part-time employees – Employees who work at least 500 hours over three consecutive 12-month periods (and who satisfy the plan’s minimum age requirement) must be offered participation in the employer’s 401(k) plan.
All SECURE provisions have tax consequences for individuals and plan sponsors. As always, the team at Next Generation strongly recommends you consult your trusted advisor regarding how the SECURE Act provisions may affect your specific tax situation.
Secure a more diverse retirement portfolio through self-direction
In light of the recent changes, consider including alternative assets within a self-directed retirement plan. Those who are comfortable making their own investment decisions and who understand certain nontraditional investments can build up their retirement savings—and hedge against stock market volatility—with such assets as real estate, precious metals, private equity, hedge funds, private notes, and more.
At Next Generation, we’re here to answer your questions about self-direction as a retirement wealth-building strategy, or how certain provisions of SECURE may affect your self-directed retirement plan. You can arrange a complimentary educational session with one of our representatives, or contact us directly at 888.857.8058 or NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com for more information.
Millennial Business Owners are Fans of Retirement Plans
Here’s something that may surprise you: younger business owners of the millennial generation are putting their employees’ retirement on their radar more so than their older counterparts (Generation X and baby boomers). According to a Nationwide survey, millennials are more aware of the importance of a workplace retirement plan and are nearly twice as likely as the average business owner to say they will offer retirement benefits to their employees in the future (69 percent vs. 36 percent).
Having grown up during the Great Recession, this generation has seen firsthand the importance of planning ahead financially. In addition to their own spending, money management, and retirement savings, they are thinking of their employees’ financial futures as well. The survey revealed that:
- Fifty-seven percent of millennial business owners think it’s their responsibility to help their workers save for retirement, compared to 44 percent of Gen X and 31 percent of baby boomer bosses.
- Fifty-one percent of millennials said a retirement plan is a good recruiting tool in a tight job market, to help attract and retain talent.
- Thirty-two percent of millennial bosses are increasing retirement contributions which is nearly double the overall figure (18% of all business owners).
Self-directed retirement plans for employees and employers
A SIMPLE IRA retirement plan can be established by employers, including self-employed individuals (sole proprietorships and partnerships) for the benefit of their employees. Eligible employees can contribute part of their pretax compensation to the plan. For individuals who are savvy about nontraditional investments, they can include those in their self-directed SIMPLE IRA. As you know, self-directed IRAs allow investors to include a wide range of non-publicly traded alternative assets, such as real estate, precious metals, lending and private equity.
If you are a business owner and would like to offer a SIMPLE IRA to your employees, or open a SEP IRA for yourself—or as an individual, you wish to open a self-directed IRA and build a more diverse retirement portfolio—Next Generation’s team can help you get started. Contact us at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com or 1.888.857.8058 today!
What is a SEP IRA ?
A SEP is a simplified employee pension plan. A SEP plan provides employers with a simplified method to make contributions toward their employees’ retirement and, if self-employed, their own retirement. Contributions are made directly to an Individual Retirement Account or Annuity (IRA) set up for each employee (a SEP-IRA). See Publication 560 for detailed SEP information for employers and employees.
Note: The IRS has a system of correction programs for sponsors of retirement plans, including SEPs, which are intended to satisfy Internal Revenue Code requirements but have not met the requirements for a period of time. This system, the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), permits employers to correct plan failures and thereby continue to provide their employees with retirement benefits on a tax-favored basis.
How is a SEP established?
- A formal written agreement must be executed. This written agreement may be satisfied by adopting an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) model SEP using Form 5305-SEP, Simplified Employee Pension – Individual Retirement Accounts Contribution Agreement. A prototype SEP that was approved by the IRS may also be used. Approved prototype SEPs are offered by banks, insurance companies, and other qualified financial institutions. Finally, an individually designed SEP may be adopted.
- Each eligible employee must be given certain information about the SEP. If the SEP was established using the Form 5305-SEP, the information must include a copy of the Form 5305-SEP, its instructions, and the other information listed in the Form 5305-SEP instructions. If a prototype SEP or individually designed SEP was used, similar information must be provided.
- A SEP-IRA must be set up for each eligible employee. SEP-IRAs can be set up with banks, insurance companies, or other qualified financial institutions. The SEP-IRA is owned and controlled by the employee and the employer sends the SEP contributions to the financial institution where the SEP-IRA is maintained.