The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act is now law.

With it comes some of the biggest changes to retirement savings law in recent years. The SECURE Act will require a change in strategy for many Americans. For others, it may reveal new opportunities.

IRA Contributions and Distributions: Another major change is the removal of the age limit for traditional IRA contributions. Before the SECURE Act, you were required to stop making contributions at age 70½. Now, you can continue to make contributions as long as you meet the earned-income requirement.

Also, as part of the act, you are mandated to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from a traditional IRA at age 72, an increase from the prior 70½. Allowing money to remain in a tax-deferred account for an additional 18 months before needing to take an RMD may alter some previous projections of your retirement income.

The SECURE Act’s rule change for RMDs only affects Americans turning 70½ in 2020. For these taxpayers, RMDs will become mandatory at age 72. If you meet this criterion, your first RMD won’t be necessary until April 1 of the year after you reach 72.

Limits on Stretch IRAs. The legislation “modifies” the required minimum distribution rules in regard to defined contribution plans and Individual Retirement Account (IRA) balances upon the death of the account owner. Under the new rules, distributions to non-spouse beneficiaries are generally required to be distributed by the end of the 10th calendar year following the year of the account owner’s death.

It’s important to highlight that the new rule does not require the non-spouse beneficiary to take withdrawals during the 10-year period. But all the money must be withdrawn by the end of the 10th calendar year following the inheritance.

A surviving spouse of the IRA owner, disabled or chronically ill individuals who are not more than 10 years younger than the IRA owner, and child of the IRA owner who has not reached the age of majority may have other minimum distribution requirements.

Let’s say that a person has a hypothetical $1 million IRA. Under the new law, your non-spouse beneficiary may want to consider taking at least $100,000 a year for 10 years regardless of their age. For example, say you are leaving your IRA to a 50-year-old child. They must take all the money from the IRA by the time they reach age 61. Prior to the rule change, a 50-year-old child could “stretch” the money over their expected lifetime, or roughly 30 more years.

The I.R.S. recently announced the annual contribution limits on IRAs, 401(k)s, and other widely used retirement plan accounts for 2020:

  • Next year, you can put up to $6,000 in any type of IRA. The limit is $7,000 if you will be 50 or older at any time in 2020.
  • Annual contribution limits for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, the federal Thrift Savings Plan, and most 457 plans also get a $500 boost for 2020. The new annual limit on contributions is $19,500. If you are 50 or older at any time in 2020, your yearly contribution limit for one of these accounts is $26,000.
  • Are you self-employed, or do you own a small business? You may have a solo 401(k), which allows you to make both an employer and employee contribution. The ceiling on total solo 401(k) contributions rises $1,000 in 2020, reaching $57,000. This is also the 2020 employer contribution limit for simplified employee pension (SEP) plans.
  • If you have a SIMPLE retirement account, next year’s contribution limit is $13,500, up $500 from the 2019 level. If you are 50 or older in 2020, your annual SIMPLE plan contribution cap is $16,500.

Anthony G. Engrassia provides financial planning and investment advice through Prosperity Capital Advisors, an SEC registered investment advisor.