How the Federal Spending Bill Affects Your Retirement Plans

Big changes are set to roll out for retirement plans after the passage of key provisions collectively known as “Secure 2.0.”

New rules on 401(k) contributions, tax credits and other retirement-related benefits were tucked into a much larger 4,100-page, $1.7 trillion spending bill Congress and President Joe Biden approved Dec. 23.

One change — increasing the required minimum distribution age from 72 to 73 — goes into effect Jan. 1. Others won’t roll out for a few years.

Here are some of the highlights.

7 Changes That Make Managing Your Retirement Plan Easier

1. Auto Enrollment in Workplace 401(k) Plans

Automatic enrollment in 401(k)s is shown to increase workplace participation. Employees are more likely to save for retirement if they don’t have to navigate the often confusing sign-up process.

Secure 2.0 requires employers — with some exceptions for small-business owners — to automatically enroll eligible employees in 401(k) or 403(b) plans. Employees can then opt out of participation if they want.

2. Get Help Finding Your Lost 401(k) Account

Lots of people forget to roll over their 401(k) when they start a new job. Tracking down old 401(k) accounts is tricky at best and a time-consuming nightmare at worst.

Secure 2.0 gives the US Department of Labor authority to create a new “lost and found” database. Workers will be able to search this database for old retirement accounts they may have forgotten about.

The database is set to roll out roughly two years from now.

3. Get Money for Retirement While Paying Down Your Student Loan Debt

Millions of Americans find themselves in a tough situation: Pay off student loan debt or save for their retirement.

Beginning in 2024, employers will be able to make retirement contributions on behalf of employees who are paying off their federal student loans.

For example, if you pay off $500 in student loan debt, your employer could put $500 in your 401(k) account — even if you didn’t make…

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