Here are the biggest reasons why we advocate for rolling over your old retirement plan (401k, 403b, SIMPLE IRA, etc.).
- Beneficiary Designation- We all know beneficiaries change from time to time (Divorce, children, etc.) but if your account is at your old employer, are you going to remember to make the necessary changes?
- Investment Selection- Even if your previous retirement plan has a good investment selection, you still may not have access to all of the different asset classes (i.e. Individual stocks, ETF’s, etc.). We have the ability to use an open architecture IRA brokerage account which allows you to purchase and hold many of the securities available today.
- Control (Plan Accessibility) - As long as your account is in a company retirement plan, it is technically the asset of the company. At this point, you have left the company and it would only make sense to take your assets with you to invest as you wish.
- Stretch IRA’s- We have found that if you have control of your assets with the proper beneficiaries assigned, it is easier for your heirs to transfer their portion into designated beneficiary accounts for their lifetime. There may even be greater stretch benefits if you have a wide disparity between the ages of the heirs. As always, we recommend that you receive tax advice from a qualified tax accountant/attorney.
- Consolidation- It is very easy to lose track of an old investment that you may not be able to view regularly. By consolidating your accounts, you not only are able to track where your accounts are but you can also make sure the total portfolio is allocated properly.
- Expenses- Even though company retirement plans are disclosing fees more and more, you may still find it difficult to track exactly what you are paying for the investments.
There is one situation where we would recommend leaving your plan at your old employer and that is:
- Early Retirement- If you plan on retiring before age 59.5 (but at least age 55), the 401k has more advantageous distribution rules. These advantage distribution rules disappear once the account holder turns 59.5.