Why You Should Rollover Those Old 401k's

by Lear Capital EditorialJanuary 15, 2015

Do you still have money sitting in old 401k accounts with companies that you no longer work for? You’re not alone! According to the Social Security Administration, $8.5 billion dollars were left behind in old workplace retirement plans between 2004-2013. Here’s a few reasons why you should take the time to consolidate your retirement assets into a personal IRA:

  1. Low returns, High Fees. Absent of participant instructions, employers are required to rollover old 401k balances into IRAs. Legislation was passed in 2004 requiring employers to guarantee that they transfer old 401ks into conservative funds that protect the relative value of the participants account. However, the fees that are assessed against these 401ks can be steep and with the low return from the accounts’ conservative investments, participants may see their hard-earned savings dwindle away.   
  2. Hard to juggle multiple accounts. Over time, companies may merge with another firm, change names, or get completely restructured. They may transfer their retirement account provider from one custodian to another. Along the way, as participants move around, they may stop receiving their quarterly statements. The bottom line is that it’s difficult to manage multiple accounts and participants frequently lose track of where their retirement assets are being managed. It’s important to take the time right after leaving employment with a company to make sure you consolidate your workplace 401k with your personal IRA.
  3. Easier access to your retirement funds. Many workplace retirement accounts and 401ks have specific restrictions on when and how you are eligible to withdraw funds from the plan. For instance, some accounts may only allow you to withdraw “all or nothing”, or they may restrict the frequency with which you withdraw funds. IRAs are much more flexible. You may choose to take a full or partial withdrawal at any time.
  4. More investment options with an IRA. 401ks and retirement accounts managed by your old employer often allow you to pick and choose from a very narrow list of investment options. By rolling your account over to an IRA, you will be able to manage your investments more closely and you will have a broader range of options! IRAs allow you to invest in alternative assets, such as real estate or precious metals. 
  5. High Management fees. Workplace retirement plans often pay a brokerage firm a 1% to 2% management fee. These management fees may also be accompanied by maintenance fees which cover the cost of management. By rolling over your old 401k into an IRA you can manage the investments on your own and hang on to more of your savings for retirement!  

Before the last financial crisis in 2008-2009, stocks were at record highs and gold was at bargain levels. The markets are in a similar position today. Don’t make the same mistake. Be prepared and consider diversifying a portion of your retirement portfolio with physical Gold or Silver. To speak with a member of the IRA Department, fill out the form on the left or call 1-800-576-9355.

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