You’re seeking a new job or making a career transition. You’re updating your resume, preparing for interviews, taking a few online education courses, and applying for available positions online. As you’re submitting applications, you start wondering, “What should I do with my old 401(k) plan?”
There are several options you can take with your old 401(k) to make the most of what you’ve saved for retirement so far. Here’s five tips to help you go further with your 401(k) savings while embarking on a new chapter in your life:
Keep your old 401(k) where it is and don’t do anything.
This is the easiest option, especially if you prefer the investment options of your old 401(k) plan. Make sure you keep an eye on the account and see if there are any penalties by not actively contributing to the 401(k) account.
Roll it over into your new employer’s 401(k) plan.
Consider rolling over your old 401(k) if your new employer offers a 401(k) program. Rolling your previous 401(k) also helps you save more time by consolidating your retirement plans. You’ll manage fewer 401(k) accounts and continue building your retirement savings without incurring a tax penalty.
Roll over your old 401(k) into an IRA.
Instead of keeping your 401(k) savings in a 401(k), consider rolling over your funds to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Two benefits of this transition include a continuation of tax-deferred growth and more investment choices. You can pick an IRA trustee that has various investment options, and you’ll have the ability to easily move your money between trustees if they don’t have an option you’re looking for. Rather than withdrawing the funds and completing the rollover yourself, ask your financial advisor to help you initiate and manage the rollover to avoid early withdrawal fees.
Don’t cash in your old 401(k) plan.
You might want to liquidate your previous 401(k) savings and use the funds for your current situation, like paying off debt or covering essentials. However, this option could set you back from getting closer to your retirement goals. An early withdrawal of your 401(k) will include federal income taxes, a ten percent IRS early withdrawal penalty if you haven’t reached age 55, and any additional penalties charged by your 401(k) provider.
Speak with an advisor to weigh your options.
A financial advisor can help you weigh all the factors so you can make a confident decision to continue investing in your future.
Although there is more than one approach, remember that you’re in control of what you want to do with your 401(k) and the wealth you’ve built so far.