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My wife and I have taught in Alabama public schools for the past 2 years and have made (forced) contributions to the state retirement system in that time frame. Together, we've got around $8,000 invested in the state retirement system. Realizing the limited income prospects for career teachers, we both applied and were accepted to a top 25 law school on full-tuition scholarship. My question to you is this: For my retirement account, I have the option of either a) taking a lump-sum payment of the $8,000, minus 20 percent in federal income tax, or b) rolling it over into a 401(k), IRA, or similar long-term savings plan. Should I take the money and run, or should I start building a retirement nest egg while I'm financing the rest of my life with borrowed money? Alex, Montgomery, AL
My wife will soon lose her job after several years working in non-profit. I am confident in her ability to find another job, but in the meantime, we have been told that she will have to take money out of her 403(b), totaling about $45,000. What should we do with it? Roth IRA? Something I don't know about? James, Louisville, KY
I am a recently divorced, single mom who is currently not employed. Right now, most of my assets (apart from my home) are in two 401(k)s -- one from my previous employer and one I received as part of the divorce settlement QDRO. From what I have read, it sounds like I should roll these over and consolidate them into an IRA? I am having trouble figuring out how and where to do this. What am I losing by leaving the money in these two 401(k)s? Ginger, Park Ridge, IL
My questions are: 1) Should we set up something for my husband that would be appropriate for us, or should we be adding more of my income to my employee 403(b) match and continue saving that way? 2) What should I do with my 403(b) from a previous employer -- let it continue or roll over?Mary, Spring Lake, MI
I have been very fortunate to stay almost continually employed despite three layoffs in 10 years. I have also contributed regularly to my employers' sponsored, tax-deferred retirement plans. In the process, I have acquired several accounts managed by Fidelity, including one at my current employer. (Some employers set up three or four accounts.) Is there any downside to rolling over accounts linked to a specific employer to one Fidelity account? I'm just looking to simplify managing my accounts. Thanks! Kathy, Warrenville, IL