Hello SECURE Act, Good Bye Stretch IRA
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By Sarah Brenner, JD
IRA Analyst

Sarah Brenner

A $1.4 trillion year-end spending bill was signed into law on December 20, 2019 in order to keep the government running. Tucked away inside this mammoth piece of legislation is the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which became effective January 1, 2020.

This new law includes significant changes to retirement accounts, including:

Age Limit Eliminated for Traditional IRA Contributions

Beginning in 2020, the new law eliminates the age limit for traditional IRA contributions (formerly 70 ½). Now, those who are still working can continue to contribute to a traditional IRA, regardless of their age.

RMD Age Raised to 72

The SECURE Act also raises the age for beginning RMDs to 72 for all retirement accounts subject to RMDs. IRA owners reaching age 70 ½ in 2020 catch a break and will not have to take their first RMD in 2020 now that the RMD deadline has been extended to age 72.


Q: About opening/establishing a Roth IRA: I opened my 1st and only Roth IRA on April 12 of 2018 at the age of 59 ½, funding it with an initial deposit and designating that deposit as a 2017 deposit/contribution. In August of 2018, I made a 2nd deposit as my 2018 Roth IRA contribution. Does the 5-year rule (to withdraw earnings tax-free) begin in 2017 or 2018? Does the 5-year rule start on April 12, the actual date of the Roth IRA establishment, or does the date default to January 1st regardless of the actual establishment date?


Q: Can you please confirm which RMD table should be used for a client whose husband was taking RMDs and passed away 10 years ago; as the surviving spouse and within 10 years of his age and the only beneficiary, she rolled the IRA into her name. Can you please clarify what table should be used for her RMDs?


Q: My husband has taken two different qualified distributions from his Roth IRA within the last 60 days. We would like to "pay those back.” It looks like we can put money back into the Roth IRA as a rollover. My question is: Can we put the total amount of the two distributions back into the same IRA, or are we limited to "paying back" just one of those distributions


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