How to Kill Your Zombie Subscriptions

In a 2022 survey, consumers were first asked to quickly estimate how much they spend on subscription services each month, then a while later, they were directed to break down and itemize their monthly payments. On average, the consumers’ actual spending was $219 per month, about 2.5 times as much as the $86 they originally guessed.1

Zombie subscriptions are auto-renewing services that people sign up for then forget about or rarely use. Some common examples include mobile phone and internet plans, television, music, and game streaming services, news subscriptions, meal delivery, language courses, and health/fitness memberships (digital and in person).

New types of services are rolling out every day, which is just one reason why subscription costs can creep up on you. But with inflation cutting into your purchasing power, getting rid of a few unnecessary recurring charges could help balance your household budget.

Conduct an audit. Some subscriptions are billed annually, so you may need to scrutinize a full year’s worth of credit card statements. Plus, if you purchased a subscription through an app store on your smartphone, the name of the service won’t be specified. So when you notice a recurring charge that you can’t identify, try looking for a list of subscriptions in your device’s settings.

Share of consumers who forgot about subscriptions but still paid for them, by age group

Use an app. One in 10 consumers said they rely on banking and personal finance apps to track their spending on subscription services. There are several popular services that can be used to scan account statements for recurring costs and remind you to cancel unwanted subscriptions before they renew automatically — if you are comfortable sharing your financial information.

Some companies make it difficult to cancel unwanted subscriptions by requiring a call, hiding the phone number, and/or forcing customers to wait to speak to a representative. If you find this practice frustrating, help may be on the way. The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a new rule that requires companies to make it just as easy to cancel a subscription as it is to sign up.

1) C+R Research, 2022

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

You’ve Received an Inheritance, Now What?

If you’ve recently received an inheritance, you may be facing many important decisions. Receiving an inheritance might promote spending without planning, but don’t make any hasty decisions. Here are some suggestions that could help you manage your inheritance.


Identify a Team of Trusted Professionals

Tax laws can be complicated, so you might want to consult with professionals who are familiar with assets that transfer at death. These professionals may include an attorney, an accountant, and a financial and/or insurance professional.

Consider Tax Consequences

While you might not owe income taxes on the assets you inherit, your income tax liability may eventually increase, particularly if the assets you inherit generate taxable income. For instance, distributions you receive from inherited tax-qualified plans such as 401(k)s or IRAs will likely increase your taxable income. 

Also, your inheritance may increase the size of your estate to the point where it could be subject to state and/or federal transfer (estate) taxes at your death. You might need to consider ways to help reduce these potential taxes.

How You Receive Your Inheritance Makes a Difference

Your inheritance may be received through a trust, in which case you’ll receive distributions according to the terms of the trust. You might not have total control over your inheritance as you would if you inherited the assets outright. If you inherit assets through a trust, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the trust document and the terms under which you are to receive trust distributions. 

Develop a Financial Plan

Consider your future needs and how long you want your wealth to last. It’s a good idea to take some time after inheriting money to formulate a financial plan. You’ll want to consider your current lifestyle and your future needs, then formulate a financial strategy to meet short- and long-term goals.

Evaluate Your Estate Plan

Depending on the value of your inheritance, it may be appropriate to re-evaluate your estate plan. Estate planning involves conserving your money and putting it to work so that it best fulfills your goals. It also means helping reduce your exposure to potential taxes and possibly creating a comfortable financial future for your family and other intended beneficiaries.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

New Medicare Rules Tackle Prescription Drug Prices

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 included provisions intended to lower prescription drug costs for Medicare enrollees and slow drug spending by the federal government. According to an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office, the law’s drug pricing reforms could reduce the federal budget deficit by $237 billion over 10 years (2022 to 2031).1

Here’s an overview of the changes to the Medicare program — which covers 64 million seniors and people with disabilities — and timelines for when they take effect.
Drug Price Negotiation

For the first time, the federal government will negotiate lower prices for some of the highest-cost drugs covered under Medicare Part B and Part D. The first 10 drugs selected for the negotiation program were announced in August of 2023. The negotiated “maximum fair prices” for the initial 10 drugs are to be published by September 1, 2024, and go into effect starting January 1, 2026. Up to 15 drugs will be subject to negotiation each year for 2027 and 2028, and up to 20 more drugs for each year after that.2

By one estimate, the list prices of about half of all drugs covered by Medicare between 2019 and 2020 rose faster than inflation.3 To discourage this practice, manufacturers of drugs covered under Medicare Part B and Part D will be required to pay rebates to the federal government if price increases for brand-name drugs without generic or biosimilar competition exceed an inflation-adjusted benchmark (beginning in 2023).

Inflation Rebates

Medicaid, a federal program that provides health coverage for low-income Americans of all ages, already receives similar inflationary rebates.

Redesigned Part D Benefits

The new law also modifies the design of Medicare’s benefits and shifts liabilities so that Part D insurance plans will pay a larger share of the program’s drug costs, while enrollees and the government pay less. 

Under the 2023 Medicare Part D standard benefit, enrollees pay a $505 deductible and 25% of all drug costs up to the catastrophic threshold, and then a 5% coinsurance (above $11,206 in total costs or $7,400 in out-of-pocket costs). But there is currently no limit on the total amount that beneficiaries might have to pay out of pocket if high-cost drugs are needed.

Starting in 2024, the 5% coinsurance requirement for Part D prescription drugs in the catastrophic phase is eliminated, which effectively caps enrollees’ out-of-pocket drug costs at about $3,250. A hard cap of $2,000 will apply to out-of-pocket costs for Part D prescription drugs in 2025 and beyond (adjusted for inflation). Annual premium increases will also be limited to no more than 6%.4

Insulin Cost-Sharing Limits

Starting in 2023, deductibles will not apply to covered insulin products under Medicare Part D or Part B for insulin furnished through durable medical equipment. Also, the applicable copayment amount for covered insulin products will be capped at $35 for a one-month supply.

Medicare enrollees who live with a chronic disease like diabetes or face any illness that requires treatment with high-cost specialty drugs (such as cancer or multiple sclerosis) could see significant savings in the coming years thanks to these changes. Still, younger individuals who are uninsured or have private insurance plans with high deductibles could continue to feel financial pain from rising drug costs — with one notable exception.

Three major drugmakers have announced deep price cuts of at least 70% for older forms of insulin. These decisions may have been influenced by public backlash, new competition, and changing market dynamics, along with the threat of financial penalties soon to be imposed by Medicaid because drug prices were raised faster than the rate of inflation.5

1) Congressional Budget Office, 2023

2) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2023

3–4) Kaiser Family Foundation, 2023

5) USA Today, March 16, 2023

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

Older Americans and Medicare Call Scams

How a Medicare Scam Begins:

  • Hi, this is Casey. I’m a Medicare advisor calling on a recorded line. How are you today?
  • This is Shelly in the Medicare enrollment center, on a recorded line, and I see here in the past
    you inquired about your Medicare supplement coverage. Can you hear me OK?

Robocall scams can often seem random, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes they are highly targeted – as with older Americans whose Medicare eligibility opens the door to health insurance fraud.
Be aware that bad actors may spoof the number that appears on your caller ID so that an incoming call seems to be from a government agency or a health provider that you already know and trust. They do this to entice you to answer. When you pick up, a scam caller usually starts chatting you up to engage you, asking you conversational questions to put you at ease. Whatever scam scenario follows, the caller is trying to get your personal information, such as your Medicare card number, your Social Security Number, or other health insurance identification.

For your awareness
▪ Medicare does not call you uninvited and ask you for personal or private information.
▪ You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a government agency.
▪ Calls requesting health insurance information should not be trusted.
Medicare.gov advises that you take the following precautions:
▪ Never give your Medicare card, Medicare Number, Social Security card, or Social Security Number to anyone except your doctor or people you know should have it (like insurers acting on your behalf or people who work with Medicare, like your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Get the contact information for your local SHIP.
▪ Do NOT accept offers of money or gifts for free medical care.
▪ Don’t allow anyone, except your doctor or other Medicare providers, to review your medical records or recommend services.
▪ Never Join a Medicare health or drug plan over the phone unless YOU called Medicare.
▪ If someone asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your personal details, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit medicare.gov. Be vigilant. Scammers can be very convincing, and they may know a little – or a lot – about you, especially if they have access to some of your personal information already. Follow these simple tips to avoid spoofing scams:
▪ Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers.
▪ If you answer and the caller isn’t who you expected, hang up immediately.
▪ Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or any other self-identifying response to an unexpected call.
▪ Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
▪ If a caller claims to represent a health insurance provider or a government agency, simply hang up. You can then call back using a phone number on an account statement, in the phone book, or on an official website to verify the caller’s authenticity.

Stay informed
“Medicare & You: Preventing Medicare Fraud,” a video from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, advises you to “hang up the phone if someone calls and asks for your Medicare number.” It also urges you to guard your Medicare number like you would your credit card numbers.
You can browse FCC Consumer Help Center Posts and Scam Glossary to learn about similar scams, including open enrollment health insurance scams.
You can also file consumer complaints about phone scams with the FCC or the FTC.

Read the FCC Complaint Center
FAQ to learn more about the FCC’s informal complaint process, including how to file a complaint, and what happens after a complaint is filed. The FCC does not endorse any commercial product or service.

Consumer Help Center
Learn about consumer issues – visit the FCC’s Consumer Help Center at fcc.gov/consumers.
File a Complaint with the FCC
Visit our Consumer Complaint Center at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov to file a complaint or tell us your story.
Related Content
▪ Consumer Guide: Spoofing and Caller ID
▪ Consumer Guide: Unwanted Calls and Texts
▪ More Consumer Help Center Posts
Source: https://www.fcc.gov/older-americans-and-medicare-scams


IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.
Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W.
Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

Time to Bulk Up Your Emergency Fund

A financial crisis — such as a job loss or medical emergency — can strike when you least expect it. It is important to be prepared by having a financial safety net in place — not having one could prove to be financially devastating. But bulking up your emergency fund isn’t always easy, especially during times of economic uncertainty. According to a recent study, only 26% of people say they have more emergency savings than they did a year ago, and 39% say they have less.1

Generally, you’ll want to have at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in a readily available emergency fund. Your living expenses include items such as your mortgage or rent, debt payments (e.g., credit card, car loan), groceries, and insurance costs. The actual amount, however, should be based on your particular circumstances. Consider factors like your job security, health, and income when deciding how much money you should save in your emergency fund. 

When you reach your savings goal, try to keep adding to your emergency fund — the more money you have, the better off you’ll be in an emergency. In addition, review your emergency fund from time to time — either annually or when your personal or financial situation changes. Major milestones like a new baby or homeownership will likely require some adjustments to your savings goal. 

If you are looking for ways to bulk up your emergency fund, consider the following ideas.

  • If possible, authorize your employer to directly deposit funds from each of your paychecks into an account specifically designated for emergency savings.
  • Make increasing your emergency fund a habit by modifying your budget to include it as part of your regular household expenses.
  • Put aside some of the money that you would normally spend on discretionary items like entertainment, vacations, and hobbies toward your emergency fund instead.
  • Move funds from cash accounts or liquid assets (e.g., those that are convertible to cash within a year, such as a short-term certificate of deposit) into your emergency fund.
  • Add earnings from other investments, including stocks, bonds, or mutual funds to your emergency fund.

The FDIC insures bank CDs, which generally provide a fixed rate of return, up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured institution.

  1. Bankrate, Annual Emergency Savings Report, January 2023

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

New Life for Your Old Life Insurance Policy

Life insurance can serve many valuable purposes. However, later in life — when your children have grown, you’ve retired, or you’ve paid off your mortgage — you may think you no longer need to keep your coverage, or perhaps your coverage has become too expensive. You might be tempted to abandon the policy or surrender your life insurance coverage, but there are other alternatives to consider.

Term vs. Perm

If you have term life insurance, you generally will receive nothing if you surrender the policy or let it lapse by not paying the premiums. However, depending on your age, your health status, and the time left in the term, you may be able to extend the coverage or convert the policy to a permanent policy. The rules for extension and conversion vary by policy and company.

On the other hand, if you own permanent life insurance, the policy may have a cash surrender value (CSV), which you can receive upon surrendering the insurance. If you surrender your cash value life insurance policy, any gain resulting from the surrender (generally, the excess of your CSV over the cumulative amount of premiums paid) will be subject to federal and possibly state income tax. Also, surrendering your policy prematurely may result in surrender charges, which can reduce your CSV. 

Exchange the Old Policy

Another option is to exchange your existing permanent life insurance policy for either a new life insurance policy or another type of insurance product. Under the federal tax code, this is known as an IRC Section 1035 exchange.

The exchange must be made directly between the insurance company that issued the old policy and the company issuing the new policy or contract. The rules governing 1035 exchanges are complex, and you may incur surrender charges from your current life insurance policy. In addition, you may be subject to new sales, mortality, expense, and surrender charges for the new policy.

Here are some options for a 1035 exchange.

Lower the premium

If the premium cost of your current life insurance policy is an issue, you may be able to lower the premium by reducing the death benefit, which would not require an exchange. Or you can try to exchange your current policy for a policy with a lower premium cost. However, it’s possible that you may not qualify for a new policy because of your age, health problems, or other reasons.

Why Buy Life Insurance?

Although life insurance has traditionally been viewed as a way to replace income after the death of a wage earner, consumers are more likely to give other reasons for purchasing coverage.

Create an income stream. You may be able to exchange the CSV of a permanent life insurance policy for an immediate annuity, which can provide a stream of income for a specific period of time or for the rest of your life. Each annuity payment will be apportioned between taxable gain and nontaxable return of capital. You should be aware that by exchanging the CSV for an annuity, you will be giving up the death benefit, and annuity contracts generally have fees and expenses, limitations, exclusions, and termination provisions. Also, any annuity guarantees are contingent on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

Provide for long-term care. Another option is to exchange your life insurance policy for a tax-qualified long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy. Any taxable gain in the CSV is deferred in the long-term care policy, and benefits paid from the tax-qualified LTCI policy are received tax-free. Keep in mind that if an LTCI policy does not accept lump-sum premium payments, you would have to make several partial exchanges from the CSV of your existing life insurance policy to the LTCI policy provider to cover the annual premium cost. A complete statement of coverage, including exclusions, exceptions, and limitations, is found only in the policy. Carriers have the discretion to raise their rates and remove their products from the marketplace. 

Whatever option you choose, it may be wise to leverage any cash value in your unwanted life insurance policy to meet other financial needs.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

Home Energy Tax Credits

A couple of federal personal tax credits are available for the installation of certain energy efficient or clean energy property in your home. The energy efficient home improvement credit is available for qualifying expenditures incurred for an existing home or for an addition to or renovation of an existing home, but not for a newly constructed home. The residential clean energy property credit is available for qualifying expenditures incurred for either an existing home or a newly constructed home. For both credits, the home must be located in the United States and used as a residence by the taxpayer.

Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit

The energy efficient home improvement credit is equal to 30% of the sum of amounts paid by the taxpayer for certain qualified expenditures. There are limits on the allowable annual credit and on the amount of credit for certain types of qualified expenditures. The maximum annual credit amount may be up to $3,200. 

An annual $1,200 aggregate credit limit applies to all building envelope components, energy property, and home energy audits (30% of costs up to $150 for such audits). Building envelope components include exterior doors (30% of costs up to $250 per door, up to a total of $500); exterior windows and skylights (30% of costs up to $600); and insulation materials or systems and air sealing materials or systems (30% of costs). Energy property (30% of costs, including labor, up to $600 for each item) includes central air conditioners; natural gas, propane, or oil water heaters, furnaces, and hot water boilers; and certain other improvements or replacements installed in connection with building envelope components or other energy property.

A separate annual $2,000 aggregate credit limit (30% of costs, including labor) applies to electric or natural gas heat pump water heaters; electric or natural gas heat pumps; and biomass stoves and boilers.

The credit is not available after 2032.

Residential Clean Energy Property Credit

A 30% credit is available for certain qualified expenditures made by a taxpayer for residential clean energy property. This includes expenditures for solar panels, solar water heaters, fuel cell property, wind turbines, geothermal heat pump property, battery storage technology, and labor costs allocable to such property. 

There is no overall dollar limit for this credit. For qualified fuel cell property, there is a general credit limit of $500 for each half kilowatt of capacity. The credit is reduced to 26% for property placed in service in 2033, 22% for property placed in service in 2034, and no credit is available for property placed in service after 2034.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

New things an employee needs to know about The SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022

If you are still working and contributing to an Employer Sponsored Retirement plan, this may apply to you.  Passed in December 2022, this act includes several mandatory and optional retirement provisions that may impact your 401(k) plan(s). SECURE 2.0 represents an important step forward in helping American workers achieve retirement security.

What you need to know:
The age-50 catch-up contributions must now be made inside the Roth side of a plan, for participants who exceed the compensation threshold.

This provision is mandatory for plans that allow age-50 catch-up contributions. (Note: The special catch-up provisions available to 403(b) and 457(b) plans are not impacted by SECURE 2.0.) • Beginning January 1, 2024, plans that allow age-50 catch-up contributions are required to make those catch-up contributions as Roth contributions for any participants who exceeded $145,000 (as indexed) in FICA compensation (compensation threshold) with the employer in the prior calendar year.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

Increase in age for required minimum distributions (RMD)

What you need to know:

This provision is mandatory. Beginning January 1, 2023, the required minimum distribution (RMD) age increased from 72 to 73. For a participant who was born after December 31, 1950, their RMD will not begin earlier than April 1 of the calendar year following the year they attain age 73. This age becomes 75 after December 31, 2032

Another change to the RMD rules effective January 1, 2023, the excise tax on a failure to take an RMD is reduced from 50% to 25%. If certain conditions are met, the excise tax may be reduced to 10%.

One last important note for Roth required minimum distribution rules from a 401k – (Not applicable to plans that do not have Roth sources) This provision is mandatory. – generally effective for taxable years beginning January 1, 2024, Roth balances are no longer included in the calculation or distribution of RMD amounts for participants in qualified plans during their lifetime.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.

SECURE 2.0 Offers New Options for 529 Plans and Student Loan Payments

In December 2022, Congress passed the SECURE 2.0 Act. It introduced two new rules relating to 529 plans and student debt that will take effect in 2024.

The first provision allows for tax- and penalty-free rollovers from a 529 plan to a Roth IRA. The second provision allows student loan payments made by employees to qualify for employer retirement matching contributions. The overall goal is to help young adults start saving for retirement.

New 529 rollover option

529 plans are tax-advantaged savings accounts specifically geared to saving for college. In an effort to broaden the flexibility of 529 plans in situations where families have extra funds in an account, Congress created a new rollover option.

Starting in 2024, 529 plan beneficiaries can roll over up to $35,000 to a Roth IRA over their lifetimes. The rollover is not subject to taxes or a penalty that would typically apply to a non-education use of funds. This new rollover option can allow a young adult to get a head start on saving for retirement.

Here’s how it will work:

  • The beneficiary of the 529 plan must be the owner of the Roth IRA.
  • Any rollover is subject to annual Roth IRA contribution limits, so a beneficiary can’t roll over $35,000 all at once. For example, in 2023, the Roth IRA contribution limit is $6,500 (for people under age 50) or earned income, whichever is less. If the limit remains the same in 2024, a beneficiary would be able to roll over up to $6,500. If the beneficiary earns $4,000 in total income in 2024, then the maximum amount that could be rolled over is $4,000.
  • In order for the rollover to be tax- and penalty-free, the 529 plan must have been open for at least 15 years. If the 529 account owner (typically a parent) changes the beneficiary of the 529 plan at any point, this will restart the 15-year clock.
  • Contributions to a 529 plan made within five years of the rollover date can’t be rolled over — only 529 contributions made outside of the five-year window can be rolled over to the Roth IRA. For more information on determining the date of contributions, contact your 529 plan manager.

New option for employer treatment of employee student loan payments

In addition to making 529 plans more flexible with a new rollover option, the SECURE 2.0 legislation seeks to help employees who have student loans and are making monthly loan payments. Employees with student loan debt often have to prioritize repaying their loans over contributing to their workplace retirement plan, which can mean missing out on potential employer retirement matching contributions. Starting in 2024, employers will have the option to treat an employee’s student loan payments as payments made to a qualified retirement plan (student loan payments will be considered “elective deferrals”), which would make those contributions eligible for an employer retirement match (if the employer offers this benefit).

There are generally fees and expenses associated with participation in a 529 plan. There is also the risk that the investments may lose money or not perform well enough to cover college costs as anticipated. The tax implications of a 529 plan should be discussed with your legal and/or tax professionals because they can vary significantly from state to state. Most states offering their own 529 plans may provide advantages and benefits exclusively for their residents and taxpayers, which may include financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors. Before investing in a 529 plan, consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses, which are available in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully. The official disclosure statements and applicable prospectuses, which contain this and other information about the investment options, underlying investments, and investment company, can be obtained by contacting your financial professional.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc., 226 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.