The days of graduating from high school or college, working for one company for 35 years before retiring with a company-sponsored pension may be behind us. We live in an era where most people change jobs at least once in their lifetime. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics National Longitudinal Survey the average young Baby Boomer has held 11.3 jobs by the time they turned 46 (Source). As of January 2014 the median number of years a worker has been with their current employer is 4.6 years (Source).
With a change of job come decisions to make with your employer-based retirement savings. Upon leaving your employer you generally have four options available for your retirement plan*:
- Roll assets into an IRA
- Leave assets in your former employer’s plan, if plan allows
- Move assets into new employer’s plan, if plan allows
- Cash-out or take a lump-sum distribution
Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages and the one that is best depends on your individual circumstances. You should consider features such as investment choices, fees and expenses, and services offered. Before you make a decision, speak with your current retirement plan administrator and tax professional before taking any action.
Rolling your money to an IRA allows your assets to continue their tax-advantaged status and growth potential, the same as in your employer’s plan. In addition, an IRA often gives you access to more investment options than are typically available in an employer’s plan and investment advice. Additionally, rolling over to an IRA enables you to retain your retirement assets in one place, making it easier to monitor performance, ensure proper asset allocation, and effectively manage your money to pursue your retirement goals.
Rolling over to an IRA also provides the ability to customize your beneficiaries with options that may not be available in your employer’s plan. By developing a plan for how your retirement assets are distributed you can be confident that your IRA will be paid directly to the people you want to receive these assets. You should understand the rules regarding retirement plan and IRA beneficiaries as these rules impact who inherits the assets and how quickly they may have to be distributed, generally triggering taxes.
You should keep in mind that IRA fees and expenses are generally higher than those in your employer’s retirement plan and depend primarily on your investment choices. IRAs are subject to state creditor laws regarding malpractice, divorce, creditors outside of bankruptcy, or other types of lawsuits. If you own appreciated employer securities, favorable tax treatment of teh net unrealized appreciation (NUA) is lost if rolled into an IRA.
If you are changing jobs, displaced, or retiring, one of the most important decisions you may face is how to handle the money you have worked so hard to earn and save. By contacting a financial advisor at a firm like Magellan Financial Inc. you can easily find out more information about your retirement plan distribution options.
A successful retirement plan takes time, knowledge and dedication. At Magellan Financial we have developed retirement plans that have assisted many pre-retirees and retirees to help them make better decisions about their financial situation. To schedule an initial consultation or learn more about how Magellan Financial can help you retire successfully, please call us at 610-437-5650 or email us at Rob.Cahill@WFAFiNet.com.”
*When considering rolling over assets from an employer plan to an IRA, factors that should be considered and compared between the employer plan and the IRA include fees and expenses, services offered, investment options, when penalty free withdrawals are available, treatment of employer stock, when required minimum distribution begin and protection of assets from creditors and bankruptcy. Investing and maintaining assets in an IRA will generally involve higher costs than those associated with employer-sponsored retirement plans. You should consult with the plan administrator and a professional tax advisor before making any decisions regarding your retirement assets.
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Investment products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (WFAFN), Member SIPC. Magellan Financial is a separate entity from WFAFN.