Broker Check
Information Overload

Information Overload

| April 16, 2020

A lot of financial jargon and acronyms have been tossed around these last few months as a result of tax law changes prior to, and in reaction to, COVID-19. So much has changed, it’s hard to keep up with. And having access to an almost unlimited number of online resources is supposed to make it easy, but it can often result in something else altogether, “information overload”.

If you are a non-business owner, you might be thinking to yourself, what does all of this mean? How does this impact me?  How can I benefit? Am I missing out on something?

At Odyssey, our goal is to provide you with simple, quality information so that you can maximize your financial well-being.

Two major laws that have created a lot of noise in the past five months have been the SECURE Act and the CARES Act.

The SECURE Act - Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act

Signed into law in December of 2019, the SECURE Act included provisions which made significant impacts to some retirement accounts. The following are some, but not all, of the key changes of the SECURE Act:

  • Removes the prohibition on contributions to traditional IRAs by individuals who have reached the age of 70 with earned income. You can now continue making IRA contributions as long as you work for someone else or yourself.

  • Increases the age for required minimum distribution (RMD) for Individual Retirement Account (IRA) from 70 to 72 for individuals turning 70 in 2020 or later. You can always take money out of IRAs as early as age 59-1/2 without penalty, but you pay taxes on every dollar distributed from the account. Now you don’t HAVE TO until age 72.

The CARES Act - Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

Signed into law on March 27, 2020, the CARES Act is designed to stimulate the economy in a time of economic decline. Below are a few of the most noteworthy impacts of the provision:

  • Retirees are allowed to forego taking their required minimum distributions (RMD) in 2020. If you don’t have to take out the money to cover your bills, don’t. If you took your required minimum distribution (RMD) anytime since February 1 and you don’t need the funds this year you can do a one-time rollover contribution between now and July 15 to avoid taxes on that distribution this year.


  • For those younger than 59 ½, the 10% early withdrawal penalty has been waived from retirement accounts in 2020. Eligible individuals are able to withdraw up to $100,000 and will have the option to recontribute to their retirement accounts within a three-year period. In addition, taxes on the withdrawals would still be taxed as ordinary income but can be paid over a three-year period instead of all at once. Before making any retirement plan withdrawal decisions please contact us to discuss the best options for your situation.

  • The standard tax filing deadline for individuals to file their 2019 returns was extended from April 15th to July 15th. If you are due a refund, go ahead and file to get your money back, but if you owe, you might as well wait until July to pay the IRS.


  • For 2020, cash contributions to charities of up to $300 will be deducted “above-the-line” instead of “below” regardless of whether the individual itemizes deductions. If you are normally charitably inclined, you will save the amount you donate up to $300 this year instead of only your marginal tax rate (i.e. If 25%, .25 x $300 = only $75).


  • Suspension of federally held student loan payments through September 30th with no interest accruing. You don’t have to pay student loans until October and the interest is waived.

How Can We Help?

As you can see, these are some of the most valuable provisions of these Acts that may help your personal situation, but there are others. And our government may provide even more as the economic impact is clearer in the coming weeks and months.

If you would like to discuss any of these provisions and how they may impact your financial outlook, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – or call 770-992-4444.