How to Manage Your 401(k) When You Switch Jobs
In the past, boomers and generation Xers often held on to jobs for 10 or more years. Some professionals stayed with the same company for most of their working lives. The Great Recession changed this for many. Now, people have become more comfortable moving from job to job. Millennials are especially adept at this. They change jobs three times more often than other generations.
Changing jobs introduces a new dilemma for people, regardless of why or how often they do so: what to do with the 401(k) account they had with their former employer. Should they consider taking the cash distribution, or could there be a better choice?
Consider All Options
Here are some reasonable options to consider whether it’s to cash out, or retain the tax-deferred benefits attached to your assets:
- Take the Cash: When people make financial decisions they may choose to do so based on interest rates and cash in hand. But another important factor to consider is taxes. When you take cash distributions from your 401(k) account, you may pay a lot of money in taxes and fees. This includes a 20% federal withholding tax and then another 10% penalty for people who are under the age of 59 and a half years old.
- Directly Roll the Money Into an IRA: An individual retirement account is much like a 401(k), but it can remain independent of any employer. You may want to consider this option if you change jobs often or if a new employer does not offer retirement plans.
- Use the New Employer’s Plan: Some professionals prefer to keep rolling their 401(k) savings forward. You may want to consider this option if you mostly work corporate jobs with good 401(k) plans. Rolling the money over directly from one employer to the next may also help to eliminate any fees from the IRS. Note that even if you are not yet eligible to contribute to your new employer’s retirement plan, you should be able to roll over your money.
- Keep the Old Plan: If you have at least $5,000 in your old retirement account, your employer must allow you to retain your 401(k) account if you want to. You can no longer make contributions to the account, but you can make decisions regarding the investment of your assets. You may want to consider this option if you leave your job to start a business, or want to add some diversity to your retirement holdings.
The Importance of Research
The right approach depends on a number of factors. Aside from those mentioned above, you should consider the rules at your company as well as longevity. Is the company in financial trouble? What happens to your retirement plan if it goes under? Some employers may also set lower thresholds to allow former employees to leave their retirement accounts behind. Speak directly with the human resources department to get some answers.
Another good source of reputable information is financial professionals. At LPL Financial, our team helps clients to navigate these and other important decisions that impact their economic future. Start working with one of our professionals today.
This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal.
This material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC
Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. UMe Credit Union and UMe Wealth Management Group are not registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using UMe Wealth Management Group, and may also be employees of UMe Credit Union. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from, and not affiliates of, UMe Credit Union or UMe Wealth Management Group. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are:
|Not insured by NCUA or any other government agency||Not Credit Union guaranteed||Not Credit Union deposits or obligations||May lose value
LPL Branch Office: 3000 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
Disclaimer: U matter to Me (all of us) at UMe — and that’s why we do our best to deliver helpful information on our blog. Please note the following: (1) UMe Credit Union works hard to make certain that the information we post here is as accurate as humanly possible. But as you know, information can change and evolve quickly. While we try to update the blog on a regular basis, the content of some older posts may not be correct or up-to-date. (2) Some destinations on the World Wide Web that we link you to will exist on external websites. UMe Credit Union does not officially endorse any connected sites, nor do/did we compensate or get compensated by any entities to be featured in our posts (unless otherwise noted). (3) Everyone’s situation is unique and we advise you to consult with our personal bankers or your finance, tax, or legal professional for advice individualized to you!