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The nearly $1.7 trillion federal spending package that just passed includes a number of changes to retirement plans.
It raises the age at which people are required to start taking money out of their 401(k)s, it increases the amount that older workers are allowed to contribute to their accounts – and it includes new tax incentives for low-income people to contribute to retirement plans.
Right now, there’s not much of a tax incentive for low-income people to contribute to a 401(k) or 403(b) retirement account. But, Mark Iwry at the Brookings Institution said soon, there will be.
“You save $2,000 in an IRA or in your 401(k), you get a $1,000 matching payment from the IRS,” he said.
People who make up to about $20,000 a year will get that full 50% match on any money they save up to $2,000.
“A little like an employer matching contribution to a 401(k) plan, but provided by the federal government rather than by the employer,” Iwry said.
That will be helpful for the people it applies to, said Teresa Ghilarducci at the New School.
“But there is no significant provision in the bill that will help cover the 57 to 63 million people who don’t have a retirement plan at work.”
What would make a big difference for them, she said, would be for everyone to be automatically enrolled in a retirement plan, whether their employer offers one or not.
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