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Your Congress in action! Or is it inaction?

Just prior to the Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill called the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancements Act (SECURE.) The bill next goes to the Senate, now pondering its own retirement bill, referred to as the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA).

Nobody knows for sure what provisions will come out of the Senate and end up in the final bill submitted to the President. However, I’m fairly confident that a couple of provisions will end up in the final bill.

First, I believe the age at which retirees must begin taking distributions from their retirement accounts will be changed from the current age of 70.5. I don’t have any inside scoop, but I suspect that the new mandatory distribution age will be 72.

I don’t think there will be any changes for surviving spouses after the death of an IRA owner. But I have a feeling the other provision that will become law will affect inherited IRAs.

Currently, a non-spousal inherited IRA can continue indefinitely. I’m expecting that this will be discontinued, and that the beneficiary of an inherited non-spousal IRA will have to withdraw the entire amount within ten years of the previous owner’s death.

In spite of a frequently bickering Congress, I’m quite confident there will eventually be a retirement bill for President Trump to sign. As soon as details are available, you can be sure I’ll share them.

I think it’s commendable that our lawmakers are attempting to improve provisions for retirees. The tax policies for retirees do need updating, especially as life expectancies continue to increase.

But what’s being done for our millennials? Short of politicians running for office and promising to forgive student loan debt, I haven’t read about any legislative proposals that might help them.

I’m fortunate that I’ve a lot of interaction with millennials. It’s made me upbeat and optimistic about the future of our country. I don’t feel that they’re seeking something for nothing, as many seem to believe. They simply want a more level playing field.

Several retired auto execs have shared with me that when they were in college they could come home for the summer and work in the auto plants. They not only earn enough to pay for the next year at college, but also to set a few dollars aside.

Do you know of any such well-paying summer jobs that exist these days? I don’t. But I do know that student debt keeps piling on and becomes a future financial drag.

The cost of housing is another financial issue for millennials. In 1985, just over 45 percent of young adults between 25 and 34 owned a home. According to recent statistics, that number has dropped significantly. It’s now just over 30%.

So, what steps could Congress take? Well, one solution might be to make the home buying process easier for millennials. Maybe offering a discount or tax deduction for items such as real estate commissions, home inspections and title insurance.

I’m pleased that our lawmakers assist seniors with their golden years. But I’d also like to see them help millennials as they launch their careers. Housing would be a good place to start.

I believe a helping hand would be much more appreciated than a handout.