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Senate OKs big changes to how Americans save for retirement

Piggy bank
The act would open the door for long-term part-time employees to gain access to workplace retirement plans, among other changes.
(Getty Images)

A major change to how Americans save for retirement is close to becoming law.

The Senate on Thursday passed the SECURE Act as part of its massive spending package. The House also passed it this week, and it now heads to President Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.

The act is designed to help more people set aside more money for retirement, primarily by removing some of the hurdles that keep people from saving.

Among its highlights is a provision that would make it easier for small businesses to band together to offer retirement plans to their employees. It also would open the door for long-term part-time employees to gain access to workplace retirement plans.

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In addition, it would raise the age that Americans must start drawing from retirement savings, known as the required minimum distribution age, to 72 from 70½ as people are living and working longer. And for the same reason, it would provide more years for people to contribute to individual retirement accounts.

It would create new rules that could expand lifetime-income options within workplace plans, such as annuities. That’s aimed at helping people establish reliable streams of income in retirement. It would also make it easier for employees to transfer retirement plan assets when they change jobs.

The act would fix a component of the 2017 tax overhaul that raised taxes on benefits received by family members of deceased military veterans, as well as taxes on some students and members of Native American tribes.

It is widely considered the biggest piece of retirement legislation since the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The SECURE Act had bipartisan support among lawmakers, as well as many in the financial and retirement industries.


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