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Retirement plans come with a wide array of tax code abbreviations IRA, Roth IRA, SEP, 401(k), 403(b), HR10 just to name a few. There are times to consider doing a rollover of these funds.

When should you consider rolling over or transferring  your retirement plan?

  • Change of employment- Most retirement plans become what is known as orphaned when you leave the employer who sponsored the plan.  In order to maintain control of your money it is wise to rollover these plans into a personal retirement account.
  • Of course, when you are retiring – This is the time when you may want to start receiving income from your retirement plan.  Your plan may or may not have income options if it does shop these payments among private insurance companies.  This will insure you receive the highest income payments possible.
  • If you are receiving part of a spouse’s retirement plan due to a marital status change – It is a good idea to rollover the funds in order to maintain personal control.
  •  When your current retirement plan is terminating -  For a variety of reason employers will discontinue a plan and start another leaving the previous plan “frozen in place”.  A good time to do a rollover.
  • In-service distribution from your current plan when available can be rolled over into a personal retirement with guarantees in order prevent future losses.
  •  When you’re inheriting money as the beneficiary of a retirement plan account – Depending on your relationship with the deceased you may be able to do a spousal transfer without taxation into your own personal IRA.  Sorry kids you will have to pay income taxes.
  •  When you have worked for multiple employers, participated in multiple plans, and now desire to consolidate the assets from those different plans into a single plan.
  • If your retirement plan has no safe money investment options – it is advisable to diversify using a rollover whenever your plan allows.

A recent tax court ruled that only one IRA rollover is allowed per year.  To avoid tax problems it is better to do an institution to institution transfer.  This way the funds are never comingled with any of your other money.

Consult with a professional to help you make the most informed decision when a rollover is in your best interest.

You may ask questions in the comments or contact me privately Tim Barton, ChFC

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