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Learning Center Experience
By Rachel Byers, Full-Time Faculty, Kaplan University Published July 2014
There are countless reasons people leave their current
employer. Whatever the reason may be, an important thing to remember when
separating from your employer is your 401(k). You have several options for
moving (or not moving) your 401(k) assets when you leave a company. Every
situation is different, so each of the options presented below should be
carefully examined to determine which would benefit you the most.
Before detailing your options, it is important to note a few
pros and cons of two types of retirement savings avenues.
Now that you
are equipped with this information, let’s review your options!
option you have is to roll over your 401(k) retirement savings into an IRA.
This is the most widely used option, but may not be the most beneficial. A few
key things to consider: What are the fees associated with the IRA? Who will
manage the investments?
is very similar to the first option in that it allows you to roll the money
over tax-free. However, there are some differences because this is a 401(k) and
not an IRA. A few things to consider: Does the plan offer adequately
diversified investment options? Will you possibly need to withdraw your money
before age 55?
Again, this option avoids taxes in the
current year. Keeping it in a 401(k) provides the drawbacks and benefits listed
above. However, keep in mind that companies switch 401(k) plan providers. When you
are no longer employed there, it may be difficult to track down your account if
this were to happen.
Taking your money out as a lump sum is
an option some might consider. If the amount is small and you are in need of
cash, this may be the best option. However, you will pay tax on the amount
distributed at ordinary income tax rates. In addition, if you are under age 55
you will pay an early withdrawal penalty. Further, the money will no longer
enjoy tax-deferred earnings.
In general, these are
the four options one should consider when leaving a company. Some additional
options do exist, such as transferring assets into a brokerage account, rolling
over into a Roth IRA, etc. However, these options should be carefully reviewed
with your financial advisor.
Rachel Byers is a full-time faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
We encourage you to share this article if you learned anything (#TIL) or found this useful information.
If you are interested in other related financial topics, we invite you to take a look at Kaplan University's Center for Excellence in Financial Services and our Career Moves site, each of which periodically publish new articles and other content on this subject.
And if you are considering a business degree we invite you to find out more about our School of Business and explore Kaplan University's undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
By Cynthia Waddell, PhD, CPA, CFE
By Jerry Taylor
By Geoffrey Vanderpal
By Dr. Denise Schoenherr
By Stanley W. Self, CFE
By Rachel Byers, Full-Time Faculty, School of Business
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