We don’t write a lot about retirement finances – preferring to leave that to the experts. But there are some recent changes worth knowing about regardless of when you plan to retire. And it’s definitely something you should know if retirement is a relatively short time in your future.
Of course, I’m referring to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the Coronavirus Relief Bill as it’s commonly called. Just signed into law, this new measure is designed to stimulate the economy and offer economic aid to those negatively impacted by this global pandemic.
The most visible benefit of the new bill is a direct, one-time payment to most adults. The actual amounts of each stimulus check depends on age and reported income so be sure to read up on the details. Best of all, the bill includes language that allows Americans receiving Social Security to obtain a stimulus payment as longs as they received a Social Security benefit statement (SSA-1099).
The aid package provides three provisions that can benefit your retirement financing.
- You can delay taking your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) for most defined contribution plans when you reach the applicable age as indicated in the SECURE Act. This new law suspends those RMDs for all of 2020. It’s particularly good news since cashing out securities in a depressed market is not ideal. Of course, withdrawals are still allowed if you really need to make them.
- The bill allows you to borrow more against the money you have already saved in your contribution plans. Typically, you could borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of your vested account balance, whichever is less. This new measure will double that and allow you to borrow up to $100,000 against your existing savings.
- The Coronavirus Relief Bill allows struggling savers to take hardship distributions of up to $100,000 from retirement plans and individual retirement accounts in 2020 without the 10% early withdrawal penalty if you are under age 59 ½. Smart investors know that this early withdrawal is never ideal – but it is available if needed.
Planning your finances for retirement is not easy even in the best of times. As global economies struggle to deal with the outcome of this pandemic, many workers are rethinking their retirement plans. The hope, of course, is that recovery will be quick. These relief measures are expected to help those who need it the most.
Qualifications directly related to COVID-19 may apply so, before taking any actions, we recommend that you discuss them with your financial professional.
If you are looking for additional resources to help you during these difficult times, AARP has a few great articles including regular updates as significant events happen. Caregivers can find information on taking care of a sick relative or friend. Best of all, they include some great tips on how older adults can reduce their risk of illness. Stay safe out there!
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Havana, Cuba