Why You Should Move Your 401 Into An Ira
The 401 is a blessing for many people, as it allows them to build wealth over time using dollar-cost averaging. Still, sometimes it makes more sense to channel some of that money from the employer-based account into your own individual retirement account. The ever-astute Rick Kahler, the founder of Kahler Financial Group, in Rapid City, S.D., tells us why:
Larry Light: Why and when should you move your 401 into an IRA?
Rick Kahler: If your employer offers a 401 or other retirement plan, contributing to that plan is a foundation of your retirement savings. However, as you approach retirement age, you might consider moving some of your retirement funds out of your employer’s plan and into an IRA at a custodian like TD Ameritrade or Fidelity.
Such a rollover is often done when you leave an employer, though many employers give you the option of keeping your retirement account with them. What isnt popularly understood is that you also can do a rollover while you’re still employed, as long as you are over 59½.
Light: Why do this?
Kahler: One reason to consider leaving your employers plan is that most of them have higher overall fees than an IRA, especially if you choose from low-cost index mutual funds or exchange traded funds from a company like Vanguard or Dimensional Fund Advisors. Its not uncommon to save up to 1% annually by making a rollover into these mutual funds.
Light: What about withdrawing the money to live on? Is there a difference?
Move Money To New Employer’s 401
Although there’s no penalty for keeping your plan with your old employer, you do lose some perks. Money left in the former companys plan cannot be used as the basis for loans. More importantly, investors may easily lose track of investments left in previous plans. I have counseled employees who have two, three, or even four 401 accounts accumulated at jobs going back 20 years or longer, Ford said. These folks have little or no idea how well their investments are doing.
For accounts between $1,000 and $5,000, your company is required to roll the money into an IRA on your behalf if it forces you out of the plan.
If you have at least $5,000 in your account, most companies allow you to roll it over. But accounts of less than $5,000 can be rolled out of the plan by the company if a former employee does not respond to a notification letter within 30 days.
For amounts under $1,000, federal regulations now allow companies to send you a check, triggering federal taxes and state taxes if applicable, and a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you are under age 59½. In either scenario, taxes and a potential penalty can be avoided if you roll over the funds into another retirement plan within 60 days.
Choose Your 401 Rollover Destination
Consider whether a traditional IRA or Roth IRA makes the most sense for your 401 rollover.
401 Rollover to Traditional IRA: If you want to maintain the same tax treatment, this can be a good choice, Henderson says. You avoid extra hassle, and you just see the same RMD and tax treatment as you would with your current 401.
401 Rollover to Roth IRA: For those with high incomes, the 401 rollover to a Roth IRA can serve as a backdoor into a Roth tax treatment. But dont forget about the taxes, Henderson says. In addition, remember the five-year rule when it comes to Roth accounts: Even at 59 ½, you cannot take tax-free withdrawals of earnings unless your first contribution to a Roth account was at least five years before. Those close to retirement, therefore, may not benefit from this type of conversion. Talk to a tax professional if youre rolling into an account with different treatment, says Henderson.
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Delay Required Mandatory Distributions
Workers with traditional IRAs and 401s both face the same reality when it comes to taking mandatory distributions. The IRS requires that you begin taking distributions by April 1 of the year following your 72nd birthday. However, you may delay taking RMDs from your 401 if youre still working and own less than 5% of the company that sponsors the plan.
Contact Your Current 401 Provider And New Ira Provider
Ideally, you want a direct rollover, in which your old 401 plan administrator transfers your savings directly to your new IRA account. This helps you avoid accidentally incurring taxes or penalties. However, not every custodian will do a direct rollover.
In many cases, youll end up with a check that you need to pass on to your new account provider, Henderson says. Open your new IRA before starting the rollover so you can tell the old provider how to make out the check.
The goal, Henderson says, is to avoid having to ever put the money into your personal bank account.
You only have 60 days to complete the transaction to avoid it being a taxable event, and its best to have everything set up before getting that check, Henderson says.
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Should You Make This Move
When all is said and done, you may still be considering whether or not this move is the right one. As we said in the introduction of this read, gold has historically been considered a great investment choice. This is due to the intrinsic value it holds.
This precious metal serves as a hedge against inflation and when other investments and the stock markets are experiencing volatility, this precious metal stays strong. In the past when fiat currencies and other types of investments lost their values due to some geographical/political crises and even natural disasters, gold retained its value.
Yet, having this asset as your only form of investment may ultimately be a very wrong choice. So, instead of doing this, we advise that you simply use it in diversifying your portfolio while you have other assets as well. This will ensure you are properly protected from the volatility of any investment plan.
How To Bring 401s And Iras To Canada
Ways to avoid common tax pitfalls
Crossing borders for work often means cross-border tax issues, especially when it comes to retirement accounts.
Moving 401s and IRAs to Canada must be done with plenty of forethought otherwise, owners could face big tax bills on both sides of the border. In a case that got accountants buzzing, CBCs Go Public reported that an Ontario couple lost almost a quarter of their U.S. retirement savings to taxes when they followed improper advice about making the transfer.
And even if clients dont want to move their money, they may be forced to. Plans have the ability to kick a participant out either due to account size or non-residency in the U.S., says Debbie Wong, a CPA and vice-president with Raymond James in Vancouver. That means Canadian residents could be out of luck.
Jacqueline Power of Mackenzie Investments in Toronto agrees. A lot of U.S. suppliers dont want to deal with Canadians anymore, she says. Weve had lots of advisors saying their clients are being essentially forced out of the U.S.
L.J. Eiben, president and CEO of Raymond James Ltd. in Vancouver, says a U.S. firm usually gives the individual 30 to 60 days to transfer out. If not done by that date, the firm will liquidate the retirement account and send the participant a cheque for the remaining proceeds minus withholding tax, penalties, et cetera.
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What Should I Do If I Have To Choose Between A Roth 401 Or A Roth Ira
If your finances put you in a position where you have to choose between a Roth 401 and a Roth IRA:
A Roth 401k might be better for you if: Your employer plan allows Roth contributions and you want to put away more than $6,000 of Roth money towards retirement each year. In addition, if your income puts you over the Roth IRA contribution limits, this allows you to still contribute Roth money towards retirement.
A Roth IRA might be better for you if: You qualify for Roth IRA contributions and you want the flexibility that comes with a Roth IRA account . If you already get your employer match and can still put funds towards retirement, maxing out your Roth IRA each year is a great idea.
Another consideration is the type of investments available to you. With a Roth 401, your investments are limited to the ones available in your 401 plan. It can be great, or it can be sub-par. With a Roth IRA, you have control over the funds you can invest in. But a powerful tool can be a double-edged sword, and its best to consult a financial planner when making investment decisions.
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Choose Investments In Your Ira
Once the money is consolidated into one account, you can choose what types of investments belong in that account. Make an investment plan, and make sure the investments you choose will match up with the expected withdrawals you will need to take.
For example, if you know that you will need to take $20,000 out next year, you don’t want that $20,000 invested in something aggressive, risky, or volatile, like a stock fund. You want it in something safe so you that you won’t have to worry about that part of your account being worth less than $20,000 when you need it.
The Balance does not provide tax, investment, or financial services or advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.
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Tips For Saving For Retirement
- Having trouble figuring out how taxes fit into your retirement plan? It may be smart to work with a financial advisor on such decisions. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesnt have to be hard. SmartAssets free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If youre ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- As you plan for your retirement income, you should also consider how Social Security benefits fit into the equation. Our Social Security calculator can help in this regard. Fill in your age, income and target retirement date and well calculate what you can expect in annual benefits.
Tips Move 401k To Gold Ira
Buying physical gold is quite easy. Its also straightforward. Just be sure you need to do just as much research as is possible into gold dealers before deciding what type to do business with, and make sure you research current gold prices because you need to try to find good deals on gold pieces. This can all could be seen as commonsense advice, but trust us once we say it comes in handy when the time concerns purchase gold. Move 401K To Gold Ira
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Transfer Of A 401 To An Ira To An Rrsp
If your 401 plan isnt eligible for a rollover directly to an RRSP , it can be rolled into an IRA that qualifies for a transfer to an RRSP. Subsequent to this, the new IRA can be transferred to an RRSP on a tax-deferred basis provided the conditions required for a transfer from an IRA to an RRSP, as outlined above, are satisfied.
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Choose Which Type Of Ira Account To Open
An IRA may give you more investment options and lower fees than your old 401 had.
If you do a rollover to a Roth IRA, youll owe taxes on the rolled amount.
If you do a rollover to a traditional IRA, the taxes are deferred.
If you do a rollover from a Roth 401, you won’t incur taxes if you roll to a Roth IRA.
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Are There Any Downsides To 401
You might lose some protection against creditors. Additionally, you forfeit the ability to access 401 money penalty-free if you separate from your employer at 55 or older. You can, however, still access money for certain eligible purchases and life events, regardless of whether its in a 401 or IRA.
What Happens If I Cash Out My 401
If you simply cash out your 401 account, you’ll owe income tax on the money. In addition, you’ll generally owe a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you’re under the age of 59½. It is possible to avoid the penalty, however, if you qualify for one of the exceptions that the IRS lists on its website. Those include using the money for qualified education expenses or up to $10,000 to buy a first home.
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Transferring A 401 Or Ira To Canada
Issues and strategies for Canadians thinking about transferring their U.S.-based retirement plans
Clients who lived and worked in the United States may have accumulated retirement savings in U.S. plans. Or they may have inherited a U.S. plan on the death of a spouse or received a portion of a U.S. plan from a former spouse. As a result, theyre probably considering whether to consolidate the U.S.-based plan with their RRSP.
This article focuses on issues and strategies for Canadian residents who arent U.S. citizens, green-card holders or otherwise considered U.S. persons for U.S. tax purposes. Should they transfer their U.S.-based retirement plans specifically a 401 or individual retirement account to Canada?
Youll Lose Control And Flexibility
The most significant benefit of an IRA is the power and flexibility to invest your money how you want. By rolling over your IRA, youll be forfeiting a lot of that control and freedom. Your 401 plan likely offers a limited number of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, so you may feel restricted by those offerings if you value greater diversification and oversight.
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Considering A 401 Rollover Consider Your Options First
If you decide a 401 rollover is right for you, we’re here to help. Call a Rollover Consultant at .
One great thing about a 401 retirement savings plan is that your assets are often portable when you leave a job. But what should you do with them? Rolling over your 401 to an IRA is one way to go, but you should consider your options before making a decision. There are several factors to consider based on your personal circumstances. The information provided here can help you decide.
Begin The Rollover Process
Youll have to fill out paperwork to conduct your rollover and it may require some back-and-forth conversations with your providers. You have several options to actually move the money from the old provider to the new one, but your best option is a direct rollover.
In a direct rollover, the funds are sent straight from your 401 into your new account without you touching the funds. Its important that you specify a direct rollover so that you dont have the check made payable to you. You could trigger a mandatory 20 percent withholding for taxes, and the IRS charges a 10 percent bonus penalty on withdrawals made before age 59 1/2.
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Disadvantages Of Rolling Over Your 401
1. You like your current 401
If the funds in your old 401 dont charge high fees, you might want to take advantage of this and remain with that plan. Compare the plans fee to the costs of having your money in an IRA.
In many cases the best advice is If it isnt broke, dont fix it. If you like the investment options you currently have, it might make sense to stay in your previous employers 401 plan.
2. A 401 may offer benefits that an IRA doesnt have
If you keep your retirement account in a 401, you may be able to access this money at age 55 without incurring a 10 percent additional early withdrawal tax, as you would with an IRA.
With a 401, you can avoid this penalty if distributions are made to you after you leave your employer and the separation occurred in or after the year you turned age 55.
This loophole does not work in an IRA, where you would generally incur a 10 percent penalty if you withdrew money before age 59 1/2.
3. You cant take a loan from an IRA, as you can with a 401
Many 401 plans allow you to take a loan. While loans from your retirement funds are not advised, it may be good to have this option in an extreme emergency or short-term crunch.
However, if you roll over your funds into an IRA, you will not have the option of a 401 loan. You might consider rolling over your old 401 into your new 401, and preserve the ability to borrow money.
Rolling 401 Assets Into An Ira
When you retire or leave your job for any reason, you have the right to roll over your 401 assets to an IRA. You have a number of direct rollover options:
Rolling your traditional 401 to a traditional IRA. You can roll your traditional 401 assets into a new or existing traditional IRA. To initiate the rollover, you complete the forms required by both the IRA provider you choose and your 401 plan administrator. The money is moved directly, either electronically or by check. No taxes are due on the assets you move, and any new earnings accumulate tax deferred.
Rolling your Roth 401 to a Roth IRA. You can roll your Roth 401 assets into a new or existing Roth IRA with a custodian of your choice. You complete the forms required by the IRA provider and your 401 plan administrator, and the money is moved directly either electronically or by check. No taxes are due when the money is moved and any new earnings accumulate tax deferred. Earnings are eligible for tax-free withdrawal once the IRA has been open at least five years and you are at least 59½.
Rolling your traditional 401 to a Roth IRA. If your traditional 401 plan permits direct rollovers to a Roth IRA, you can roll over assets in your traditional 401 to a new or existing Roth IRA. Keep in mind youll have to pay taxes on the rollover amount you convert.
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