Do You Want to Own or
Participate in Your Retirement Plan?
The choices you make when leaving your employer can affect your level of control.
If you're leaving your job, you may be wondering if it's best to keep your retirement assets in your existing employer-sponsored retirement plan, move them to your new employer's retirement plan, or roll them into a self-directed IRA. As you make this decision, here are some important issues to consider:
Owner vs. participant - Employees who participate in their plan are not owners. Instead, they are "plan participants" bound by the constraints detailed in the plan document. On the other hand, those with IRAs are "owners" with full rights of access.
Rights of "ex-employee participants" - Plan participants who leave the company still have access to their money, but ex-employees sometimes have different plan limits and rights than current employees do. Review your plan document carefully to understand your entitlements as an ex-employee.
Control over investment options - With employer-sponsored retirement plans, investment options are limited by the plan sponsor, and may be employer-directed. An IRA typically provides a wider variety of involvement options from which to choose. This broader range of choices gives you greater control, and can give you greater diversification possibilities, which can reduce your risk to market volatility.
Beneficiary issues - Many qualified plans require that non-spouse beneficiaries (like children) receive a taxable pay-out within one year of the participant's death (if death occurs before required distributions start). That means beneficiaries will have to pay federal income taxes on the full amount distributed during the applicable year. With most IRAs, non-spouse beneficiaries can spread the account balance - and the corresponding income taxes due - over their individual life expectancies by taking only the required minimum distributions (some conditions apply).
Company stock - If you've invested in company stock through your former employer's retirement plan, you can sell all or part of the securities, leave them in the plan, roll them into an IRA, or take an in-kind transfer of securities, which may have special capital gains treatment. Before choosing a course of action, you'll want to consult your tax advisor for tax implications.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL OR E-MAIL
Randy Redley, CSA, CEP
Certified Senior Advisor, Certified Estate Planner
Randy Redley & Associates
Insurance and Financial Services Since 1970
P.O. Box 672
Southfield, Michigan 48037
Offices located at:
2500 Citywest Blvd.
Suite 1900 Suite 300
Southfield Michigan 48075 Houston, Texas 77042
(248) 351-2646 (713) 267-2323
(248) 352-1753 (713) 961-4724
Copyright © 1999-2005 Randy Redley. All rights reserved.
Your Retirement Plan - Ask Your Tax Advisor About IRAs and Other Options