Money Matters: Transfer your 401(k) when switching jobs

March 31, 2017 01:30

Sponsored by NEFE

When you switch jobs, there is plenty to think about when it comes to impacts on your personal finances. Along with things like moving expenses, home buying and selling, lining up new utilities and more, don't forget about your retirement accounts. If you have a 401(k) through your former employer, you have some choices to make about what to do with the money, including rolling it over into a new plan, moving it to different kinds of retirement vehicles, or even cashing it out, which in most cases would carry a penalty. The right decision will depend on several factors, including how close you are to retirement, and the options available to you from your new and old employers.

As U.S. News Money explains, if your new employer has a 401(k) plan, you should be able to roll your assets over from the old plan to the new without penalty. The change will require you to consider a new mix of potential investments, because plans vary from company to company. You may even have the option to leave your existing balance in the old plan, depending on how it is structured, although no new contributions would come from your old employer. You could also roll over your balance to a traditional IRA, which may give you different options on how the money will be invested. And don't forget about administrative fees, which could help sway your decision.

To help your readers/listeners/viewers understand their options with retirement plans, talk with financial planners in your market, who can talk about the most common structures of 401(k) and IRA plans, and walk you through some examples of how money can be moved from one account to another with a change in jobs. They can also talk about the plusses and minuses of withdrawing retirement funds and investing them in different ways.

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Susan Johnston Taylor of U.S. News and World Report entered the 2016 NEFE/RTDNA awards contest with a story about trusting mobile apps that have access to your financial information.