The Cares Act Directly Impacts Retirees!

 As I’m sure you know, the $2 trillion “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security” (“CARES”) Act was recently signed into law. The CARES Act is designed to help those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, while also providing key provisions that may benefit retirees.

To put this monumental legislation in perspective, Congress earmarked $800 billion for the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 during the financial crisis.

The CARES Act has far-reaching implications for many. Here are the most important provisions to keep in mind:

Stimulus Check Details – Americans can expect a one-time direct payment of up to $1,200 for individuals (or $2,400 for married couples) with an additional $500 per child under age 17. These payments are based on the 2019 tax returns for those who have filed them and 2018 information if they have not. The amount is reduced if an individual makes more than $75,000 or a couple makes more than $150,000. Those who make more than $99,000 as an individual (or $198,000 as a couple) will not receive a payment.

Business Relief – The act also allocates $500 billion for loans, loan guarantees, or investments to businesses, states, and municipalities.

Inherited 401(k)s – People who have inherited 401(k)s or Individual Retirement Accounts can suspend distributions in 2020. Required distributions don’t apply to people with Roth IRAs; although, they do apply to investors who inherit Roth accounts.

Suspended RMD – The CARES Act suspends the minimum required distributions most people must take from 401(k)s and IRAs in 2020. In 2009, Congress passed a similar rule, which gave retirees some flexibility when considering distributions.

Withdrawal Penalties – Account owners can take a distribution of up to $100,000 from their retirement plan or IRA in 2020, without the 10-percent early withdrawal penalty that normally applies to money taken out before age 59½. But remember, you still owe the tax.

Many businesses and individuals within our community are struggling with the new realities that COVID-19 has created. The CARES Act, however, may provide some much-needed relief for our neighbors, friends, and loved ones.

While it’s never a good time to take pre-retirement withdrawals, knowing that you have the option is comforting. If you decide to take a loan, don’t forget about the potential taxes due, which may bump you into a higher bracket. If you’re considering a loan, try speaking with a financial professional to make sure you have all your bases covered.

Perhaps the most impactful provision, RMDs may be waived for 2020. The fair market value was calculated on December 31st during near-record highs but by the time distributions are taken, it may be during near-record lows. Skipping RMDs for one year may give retirees a chance to bounce back. If you’re unsure how this applies to you or want an in-depth analysis of your current retirement plan, select a time to chat virtually below.

With many businesses and activities transitioning to digital methods, it may become difficult to discern genuine calls from phishing calls. Though the money hasn’t been sent out yet, phone scammers are ahead of the game. Beware of calls related to the relief package, RMDs, IRS, or any government-related call. Do not give out any personal information over the phone. Do not pay anyone over the phone who claims to expedite your check. If you filed your taxes electronically, you’ll receive it to the linked account. Otherwise, you’ll receive a check via mail. You will also receive a notice with the check amount, payment method, and contact information for any issues. If you have not provided the IRS with your most recent address, provide them with that information as soon as possible.

At market close today, March 31, 2020, Dow Jones, S&P 500, and NASDAQ all saw decreases. The Dow dropped by 1.85% with a 413.11 point decrease, while the S&P 500 sunk by 1.61% with a 42.18 point decrease, and the NASDAQ declined by 0.95% with a 74.05 point decrease.

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