Once you’ve decided to switch jobs, your next move is to determine what to do with the money in your former employer’s retirement plan.
Generally, you have four options for handling the money in your account:
Option #1. Keep the Money in Your Former Employer’s Plan
If your former employer permits, leaving your money where it is may be an attractive option because it allows you to continue enjoying the benefits of tax-deferred compounding. If you are happy with the plan’s investment options, this could be a good choice. On the downside, there may be special conditions or fees associated with your continued participation, and you may have withdrawal restrictions in the future.
Option #2. Roll the Money Into Your New Employer’s Plan
This option also has its advantages — continued tax-deferred growth of your investment and the convenience of having all of your retirement assets in one place. But because every employer has its own rules governing rollover money, before you choose this option, review your new employer’s plan and possible eligibility restrictions carefully.
Option #3. Take the Money in Cash
While this option may seem appealing because it gives you immediate access to your money, Uncle Sam is the real winner here. Cash distributions are subject to a mandatory 20% federal withholding in addition to regular income tax. Furthermore, if you are under age 59½, your distribution would also be subject to a 10% additional federal tax. Finally, if state or local taxes apply, they could claim an even bigger portion of your account.
Option #4. Roll the Money Directly Into an IRA
This final option allows you to roll all or a portion of your money into an IRA. To avoid withholding taxes and potential penalties, arrange for a direct rollover of the entire amount into an IRA. An IRA offers the same benefits of tax-deferred investing for retirement and typically provides a wider range of investment options to choose from. However, additional fees or commissions may apply.
The money you accumulate through an employer’s plan may become a primary source of income after you retire, so how you manage it today could have a big effect on your financial situation in the future.
A little more about us:
Compass Financial is an independent, fee-based financial advisory firm in West Des Moines, Iowa. The Compass Team helps individuals and families develop an inspiring vision of their financial future and a realistic strategy.
By listening closely to our clients’ true needs, wants, hopes, desires and dreams we are able to combine Wealth Management and broad Financial Planning customized to each individual situation. It’s our goal to assist you in developing a personalized financial road map. The results from the process should include confidence that comes from planning. As we all know, life happens, sometimes ambushing the best laid plans. Accepting a new reality and adapting the financial plan is work we have done many times for our clients.
We also offer Financial Check Up or Second Opinion Services to those who want to enhance the service they are already receiving. This should lead to a better understanding of your current plans and give added confidence to your existing advisor relationship.
Sometimes life’s biggest challenges come in the form of transitions, retirement, marriage, health issues, divorce, unexpected loss, or even college savings. Our team at Compass has experienced many of these life transitions, it’s our hope to come alongside you and your family. These defining moments of life provide opportunities to implement financial strategies that can have long lasting impact. The first step is always the most difficult, but can also be the most rewarding. Please Contact Us today to receive your free, no obligation, one hour initial consultation!