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Your 401(k) could soon include new types of investments

How to catch up on your retirement savings
How to catch up on your retirement savings 02:22

Major changes could be coming to your retirement plan. 

The Senate on Thursday passed the Secure Act as part of its massive spending package. The House passed it earlier this week and it now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.

The Secure Act — which stands for Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement — is designed to help more people set aside more money for retirement. It does so primarily by removing some of the hurdles that keep people from saving. It also opens the doors to new types of products, such as annuities, that could help workers secure reliable income streams in retirement.

Among its highlights is a provision that would make it easier for small businesses to band together to offer retirement plans to their employees. It also opens the door for long-term part-time employees to gain access to workplace retirement plans. Investment advisors applauded the bill's passage, which comes at a time when 22% of Americans have less than $5,000 saved for retirement, according to Northwestern Mutual. 

"The legislation includes meaningful changes that will allow more people to participate in workplace savings plans and should have positive impact on retirement for millions of Americans," investment management firm T. Rowe Price said in a statement.

Required minimum distribution age

The Secure Act also raises the age that Americans must start drawing from retirement savings, known as the required minimum distribution age, from 70½ to 72, as people are living and working longer. It also provides more years for people to contribute to individual retirement accounts, for the same reason.

It creates new rules that could expand lifetime-income options within workplace plans, such as annuities. That's aimed at helping people establish reliable streams of income in retirement. It would also make it easier for employees to transfer retirement plan assets when they change jobs.

It also fixes a component of the 2017 tax overhaul that raised taxes on benefits received by family members of deceased military veterans, as well as taxes on some students and members of Native American tribes.

It is widely considered the biggest piece of retirement legislation since the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The Secure Act had bipartisan support among lawmakers, as well as many in the financial and retirement industries.

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