By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF®
IRA Analyst

After a six-month sprint through a diabolical obstacle course of new laws, a pandemic, record unemployment, deaths, confusion and complete disruption of everyone’s professional and personal lives, this seems like a good time to recap the madness of the previous 180 days.

January 1, 2020 – The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act became effective. Remember this law? Passed in late December, the SECURE Act upended the retirement world. Some of the SECURE Act’s more consequential changes include:

· RMD age raised to 72.

· Age limit eliminated for traditional IRA contributions.

· Annuities more readily available in employer plans.

· Stretch payments on inherited IRAs eliminated for all but an entirely new class of “Eligible Designated Beneficiaries.”

January/February 2020 – Rumblings in the news about a virus.

February 24 – 28 – Worldwide stock markets report largest one-week declines since the 2008.

March 13, 2020 – National emergency declared due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Schools and businesses shuttered. Some hospitals overrun with the sick and dying.

March 20, 2020 – In Notice 2020-18, the Treasury Department and IRS announce the federal income tax filing due date is extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. This also extended the deadline for making prior-year contributions to Roth and Traditional IRAs.

March 23, 2020 – Dow Jones hits intraday low of 18,213.65.

March 27, 2020 – Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law. In addition to being one of the largest economic stimulus bills in history at over $2 trillion, the CARES Act also impacted retirement accounts, as such:

· Required minimum distributions (RMDs) waived for 2020.

· Coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) created as a means for eligible individuals to gain access to retirement dollars penalty-free.

· Company plan loan rules expanded.

June 19, 2020 – IRS releases Notice 2020-50 which includes additional information on CRDs. The new guidance makes more individuals eligible for tax-advantaged distributions permitted under the CARES Act.

June 21, 2020 – IRS releases Notice 2020-51. The rollover deadline for repaying unwanted 2020 RMDs is extended to August 31, 2020. Inherited IRA RMDs can be repaid, and the one-rollover-per-year rule is waived for those who took multiple RMD payments in 2020.

Six months of crazy. 180 days. Feels like forever…and I didn’t even mention all the historic events unrelated to retirement. While we are all still figuring things out, this bumpy ride is far from over. Hang on tight, and be safe.