Ask Money

Yes to rollover. But where to?

Chris Farrell Jun 23, 2011

Question: Hello. I have a 403(b) from an employer whom I worked for 14 years ago. It’s not doing as well as it could with a different investment company. I now work for a different employer and am opening another 403(b) with my preferred investment company. My question is: should I try and roll my old 403(b) into the account with my new employer or should I convert the old 403(b) to an IRA (either Traditional or Roth). Thank you for the advice. Your show is terrific! Kelly, Durham, NC

Answer: Thanks. It’s good that you’re planning on taking the savings out of your old account. Obviously, you can’t go wrong with either choice. First check with your new employer to make sure you can roll the money into the retirement savings plan. Not all employer-sponsored plans allow rollovers. .

Now, let’s say you can move the money into the plan. What is the better choice? Well, if you really like the options in your current plan then why not switch the savings into it? It’s the no-muss no-fuss option.

However, my bias–and it’s a bias–is to place the money into a rollover IRA. The reason is that you get to choose -not your employer–what are your investment options. The IRA gives you greater investment choice and flexibility.

It’s a separate question whether you choose the traditional IRA or a Roth-IRA. A simple screen is if you don’t have the savings set aside to pay the taxes on converting into a Roth don’t do it. For more detailed analysis I would tap into a good IRA calculator, such as the one at analyzenow.com.

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