Don’t Forget Your 401(k) When You Leave Your Job! Here’s What You Can Do With It

What to do with your 401(k) when you leave your job.

A 401(k) plan is an awesome vehicle to save for retirement!  

You get to lower your tax basis (the income you get taxed on).  You might get a great company match… What’s not to like?

But what do you do with your 401(k) if you leave your job? 

Do you take the 401(k) with you?  Where do you put it?  Should you leave it?

You have some choices for your 401(k) which I’ll outline for you below:

Choices For Your 401(k) When You Leave Your Job

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If Your Teen Has a Job, It’s Not Too Early to Think About Retirement

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Generally, retirement is something that middle aged individuals are concerned with, not teens.  

Teens may feel like they have all the time in the world, while their parents hear the ticking countdown to retirement.

Parents can no longer change the fact that they probably didn’t contribute to their retirement at a young age, but they can help their children learn about retirement planning and contributing earlier rather than later.

This discussion can start with the teen’s first job.

There are Two Primary Ways Teens May Be Able to Start a Retirement Account:

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College Savings or Retirement Savings – Which Should I Save For First?

There is a deep, deep instinct within parents to care for their children. Every parent I’ve ever known wants their children to have it better than they did.

Often this means Mom and Dad sacrifice for their children.  These sacrifices can be small such as not ordering dessert when eating out or driving the old beat up (paid off) car one more year before buying something manufactured in the last 5 years.

Other times the sacrifices made by parents can be financially devastating.

The desire to provide for children is so strong that choices are made that can make things worse than they need to be.

The classic question of saving for your children’s college funds or for your retirement falls right in line with this idea.  Is it a terrible idea to set aside your retirement needs to save some extra dollars for the college fund?  Or can you justify putting off retirement savings to make sure there is enough money to pay the college bills?

Deciding Whether to Save for College or Retirement

Here are 6 factors to consider when making the decision of whether to save for college education costs or your retirement.

1. Why Not Do Both?

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Do I Need Life Insurance In Retirement?

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You can save a boat load of money by re-evaluating your life insurance needs once you retire.

If you do, you’ll probably find that you need a whole lot less insurance after you retire than you needed while you were working.  In many cases, you’ll discover that you won’t need life insurance at all during retirement.

So Do I Need Life Insurance in Retirement?

The Purpose Of Life Insurance is the Key

Counter to what many life insurance agents tell you, life insurance isn’t an investment.

That’s one reason why term life is far better than whole life.  It’s also one of the reasons I question the need for life insurance on a non-working spouse.

Insurance is a financial tool and nothing more.
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What Are Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) and How Do They Affect Your Retirement?

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It seems like when you get to retirement you should be able to take it easy.

Your money is in a tax-advantaged account, and you can take out money as you need.  No reason to fuss about it.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

While you might think that you can put off withdrawing money from your tax-advantaged account if you have income from other sources, this isn’t true if your account is subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs).

What are RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions)?

The RMD is a required amount that you are forced to take from certain tax-advantaged retirement accounts — even if you don’t need the money.

If you don’t take your RMD when you are supposed to, you can be charged penalties that can reduce the value of your retirement account.

RMDs are not required for Roth IRAs.  However, other retirement accounts come with RMDs.  This means your Traditional IRA, and other non-Roth IRAs are subject to RMDs.  Additionally, all 401(k) and 403(b) accounts are subject to RMDs.
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Watch Out for Senior Fraud and Scams

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It’s sad, but true: Seniors are often targets of financial fraud, and it is costing them big.

According to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the average senior victim of fraud loses about $140,500.  That’s a fairly significant amount of money, especially considering that many seniors are living on a fixed income.

If you have older relatives, it’s important to be on the look out for financial abuses and outright fraud.

Here are some of the senior fraud and scams to be on the watch for:

Social Security and Medicare Scams

One of the ways that many seniors are scammed is through fraudsters claiming to be associated with Social Security and Medicare.
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Signs You Have a Bad 401(k) Plan and What to Do About It

Sometimes we’re just happy to be with an employer that has a 401(k) plan, since so many don’t.

It may not even seem important whether or not it’s a good plan or a bad one – at least not at the beginning.  After all, any 401(k) plan is better than having none at all.

But there are bad 401(k) plans out there, and that becomes even more important and obvious the longer you’re in one.

What are Some Signs of a Bad 401(k) Plan?

No employer match

One of the real incentives to invest money in a 401(k) plan is an employer match.

A typical match is 50%, where the employer contributes 3% of your income while you contribute 6% out of your compensation.  Employer matching contributions can be more or less generous.

Some employer plans provide no match at all.  In and of itself this does not indicate a bad 401(k), but in combination with other negative factors it’s a strong sign.

Poor or limited investment choices

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