There is a lot of misleading information about what is a REAL ID and 'do you need one?'
Here is the simple answer....if you are planning on flying anywhere, you WILL need to get a REAL ID. Beginning October 1, 2020 all travelers will be required to have a REAL ID or another acceptable form of identification, such as a valid US passport or US military ID for travel within the USA. Any international travel will require a valid US passport.
How do you tell if you have a REAL ID? A REAL ID verified card will have a gold star on top of your identification, typically on enhanced drivers licenses. However, there are a few states that have a different process. To check your state, please click here. Click on your state to verify what is required.
This all stems from 9/11 and a better way to protect us.
REAL ID Act
The Real ID Act of 2005, Pub.L. 109–13, 119 Stat. 302, enacted May 11, 2005, is an Act of Congress that modifies U.S. federal law pertaining to security, authentication, and issuance procedure standards for driver's licenses and identity documents, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism. SOURCE: Wikipedia
My best advice is NOT to wait. Everyone will wait until the last minute to get an updated ID. Why suffer through even more agonizing wait times at the DMV if you can take care of it now.