Leaving Your Job? 5 Reasons to Roll Over Your 401(k) Assets
When you leave a job where you hold a 401(k) account, you have a few options available to you. It may be the case that you need to decide whether to leave the assets at your former company (assuming that’s an option) or move them into a rollover IRA (individual retirement account). We believe investors may want to consider the following five reasons for moving their retirement assets into a new IRA account.
1. Enhanced Investment Choices
When you leave a job, you can open a rollover IRA, which is an account that allows for the transfer of assets from a former employer-sponsored retirement account to a traditional IRA. The usual purpose of a rollover IRA is to maintain the tax-deferred status of those assets.
When companies set up 401(k) plans, they often limit the investment options available to participants. Rollover IRAs, in contrast, generally provide a wider investment menu consisting not only of mutual funds but also exchange-traded funds and individual stocks and bonds. This wider array of options can allow you to control and customize your portfolio with the goal of aligning your investments with your long-term financial needs, risk profile, and retirement goals.
2. Potentially Lower Fees
Participants in company-sponsored 401(k) plans often pay management and administrative fees associated with the plan that can ultimately reduce the overall return they achieve on their investments. In addition, the investment options offered by the plan may have higher fees than those available through the investment menu offered with a rollover IRA. It’s important to carefully research all fees associated with rolling over your 401(k) to an IRA as they have the potential to be higher than those associated with keeping your 401(k) with your former employer.
3. Easier to Manage Your Investments
Maintaining a diversified portfolio across asset classes can be a smart way to help meet your long-term risk/return objectives. However, having one, or multiple, 401(k) accounts with different employers can make it challenging to clearly understand how your asset allocation looks across all your investment accounts. In addition, some 401(k) plans limit the number of transactions you can make in your account during a year. In contrast, consolidating your retirement accounts in one place can make it easier to monitor and adjust your asset allocation over time, as you near retirement and your financial needs change.
4. Benefits for Your Estate
It’s typically the case that, upon the death of the owner of a 401(k) account, the assets are paid out to a beneficiary in a single lump sum which can create undesired inheritance and income tax challenges. However, an IRA may offer several payout options to provide flexibility and potentially mitigate these challenges for the beneficiary. In addition, with an IRA, the beneficiary may also be a trust, which can be beneficial for estate and tax-planning strategies.
5. Ability to Use a Roth IRA
When you roll your retirement assets into a rollover IRA, you gain the ability to convert those assets to a Roth IRA. With a Roth, you pay taxes on the money you contribute but you avoid paying taxes when you withdraw the money, unlike a traditional IRA. In addition, you are not required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs). Importantly, there are several tax mitigation strategies for when to convert your rollover IRA to a Roth IRA that should be discussed with your tax advisor before any action is taken.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founded in 1994, Segall Bryant & Hamill (SBH) provides professional portfolio management of domestic and international equity, fixed income, and balanced portfolios, as well as alternative investments to institutional, intermediary, and private wealth clients. Our clients benefit from the expertise of our professionals, who have navigated diverse and challenging market environments and are experienced with all aspects of wealth planning. We understand the complexities that can come with managing your wealth. That’s why we take a comprehensive approach to the advice we give and the assets we manage on your behalf. This approach includes a personalized financial plan and tailored portfolio of individual stocks and bonds researched by our institutional investment team.
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