- June 3, 2014
- Posted by: Jenna McQuinn
- Category: Tax, TaxBites
It happens all the time – you tie ends up at one job and you’re moving on to something new. You’ve packed up your boxes, taken down the sign off your door and deleted your emails. It seems like just about everything has been wrapped up. But then you realize you haven’t even thought about your retirement plan and what happens to it. This easy guide should help.
First and foremost, don’t take a lump-sum distribution from your old employer’s retirement plan. It generally will be taxable and, if you’re under age 59½, subject to a 10% early-withdrawal penalty. Here are three alternatives:
1. Stay put. You may be able to leave your money in your old plan. But if you’ll be participating in your new employer’s plan or you already have an IRA, keeping track of multiple plans can make managing your retirement assets more difficult. Also consider how well the old plan’s investment options meet your needs.
2. Roll over to your new employer’s plan. This may be beneficial if it leaves you with only one retirement plan to keep track of. But evaluate the new plan’s investment options.
3. Roll over to an IRA. If you participate in a new employer’s plan, this will require keeping track of two plans. But it may be the best alternative because IRAs offer nearly unlimited investment choices.
There are additional issues to consider when deciding what to do with your old retirement plan. We can help you make an informed decision — and avoid potential tax traps.