February 4, 2019
So, you’re ready for something new and have put in your two weeks. Before you grab a brown box, smash that copier (couldn’t help the office space reference) and say your goodbyes, it would be wise to remember to take your retirement accounts with you. Now there is a right and a wrong way of going about this from a cost perspective. I suggest you take the former and not the latter.
Before leaving you should contact your company’s investment representative to start the process of having your 401k moved or “rolled over” as it is referred to in the industry. There are a few options for doing this and it depends on your financial situation and retirement plan when determining the best alternative.
If you are starting a new job and your employer will match your retirement savings this could be a very viable option. Always be sure to check that the managing fees are reasonable and there is a healthy variety of investment options that align with your goals. Taking this action will allow your savings to continue to grow tax-deferred and keep all your money all in one place so that it is easier to keep track of. You will also retain the benefits of having a 401k plan such as shelter from creditors and the option to take a loan from the account.
If you are planning to retire soon or switching jobs, rolling it over into a Traditional IRA could help you meet your goals. Switching to a traditional IRA might enable access to more investment options than were previously available in your 401k. The money rolled over will not be subject to any tax and will continue to grow tax-deferred. Of note, this type of account is, however, subject to required minimum distributions at the age of 70 ½ which can raise your income tax bracket.
This might be the best option if you are young and planning to save for your retirement over many years. While you will assume tax implications of any 401k traditional IRA fees, you will not for any 401k Roth IRA fees. The Roth IRA will also allow any money that you roll over to grow tax-free and their earnings too as well. Also, unlike a Traditional IRA you are not required to take minimum distributions from the account at age 70 ½.
Just try not to smash the copier on your way out with a baseball bat.