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You nailed the interview, negotiated a nice, fat salary and completed the HR paperwork.
Congratulations on the new gig! Good on you. But in all the excitement of your new job, don’t forget about your old 401k!
After you leave a company, you have options with your old 401k. You can:
Just because it’s an option doesn’t mean it’s a good one. Obviously, taking the money out and paying taxes on the whole thing, PLUS a 10% early withdrawal penalty (if you’re younger than 59.5), is a terrible idea.
Leaving it where it is or rolling it over into your new 401k aren’t as bad, but they’re only a little better. Want to know a secret? Come a little closer…
Each 401k plan is different, but even the most robust 401k’s offer only a limited number of funds to invest in. You’re options are limited to whatever Human Resources has picked out for you.
I’ve seen the investment options of hundreds of 401k plans. And I can tell you from experience, the funds usually kinda suck. (And that includes the Target Date funds I bet you’re invested in right now.)
So you’re forced to pick the best of the mediocre and call it a day…until you leave your company.
It’s tax-free and penalty-free to do so.
More importantly, once it’s in your IRA you can invest in pretty much anything you want. Instead of picking from the best of the mediocre, you can pick from the best of the best! Woohoo!
Then you can invest in a well-diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds, which is how you should manage all of your “serious money”. And what’s more serious than your retirement savings!?
Then as you progress throughout your career, and get better and better jobs, you consolidate all of your old 401k’s into the same Rollover IRA.
If you have old 401k’s laying around, we’d be happy to help. You can always schedule a free initial consultation to find out more.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered advice or a recommendation. Talk to your financial advisor for help with your specific situation.