How To Consolidate Your Retirement Accounts

by Ron Haynes

With workers changing jobs an average of 12 times during their career, chances are you’ll set up multiple types and varieties of retirement accounts over the course of your lifetime (please don’t cash them out!). But instead of maintaining a lot of separate accounts at different employers, you can in many cases consolidate, or merge, your various retirement plan accounts into just one easier-to-manage account.

Why Consolidate Your Retirement Plans?

Consolidating your retirement plans can be a benefit with:

  1. Paperwork: Keeping up with one account with one firm means you’ll get only one statement every month and one annual statement at the end of each year.
  2. Convenience: Maintaining just one account means you’ll deal with only one firm for customer service issues.
  3. Investment management: It’s much easier to maintain your preferred asset allocation.
  4. Annual fees: Consolidating your various accounts into one account can reduce or eliminate annual maintenance fees. Many brokerages charge an annual fee for accounts with less than $5,000. If you have two accounts with $4,000 in each, you’re possibly paying fees that you don’t have to pay!

Which Retirement Plans Can Be Consolidated?

The table below indicates which types of retirement plans can be consolidated into which other types. Note that not all types can be consolidated: for instance, you can consolidate a Roth IRA into another Roth IRA, or into a Roth 401(k), Roth 457(b), or Roth 403(b), but not into a Traditional IRA. Regardless of which type of consolidation you’d like to do, it’s a good idea to consult a tax advisor and/or a financial planner for guidance.

Consolidate your retirement accounts into a Scottrade No Fee IRA Today! I did!

Traditional IRAs can be consolidated into:

  • Another traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA *
  • SEP IRA
  • 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b)
  • Roth 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b) *

Roth IRAs can be consolidated into:

  • Another (different) Roth IRA *
  • Roth 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b) *

SIMPLE IRAs can be consolidated (after you’ve participated for a minimum of two years) into:

  • Rollover IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • Roth IRA *
  • SEP IRA
  • Roth 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b) *
  • 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b)

SEP IRAs can be consolidated into:

  • Rollover IRA
  • Roth IRA *
  • Another SEP IRA
  • 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b)
  • Roth 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b) *

401(k), 403(b), or 457(b)s can be consolidated into:

  • Rollover IRA
  • Roth IRA *
  • SEP IRA
  • Another 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b)
  • Roth 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b) *

Roth 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b)s can be consolidated into:

  • Roth IRA
  • A different Roth 401(k), 457(b), or 403(b)

* Only if your adjusted gross income for the tax year does not exceed the maximum limits set by the IRS.

How to Consolidate Retirement Plans

If you’d like the simplicity of having just one retirement account, consider consolidating. The best way to get this done is to simply contact the firm you intend to consolidate into. Most companies and online brokerages have “consolidation specialists” on hand to guide you each step of the way and chances are you’ll simply have to fill out a few forms and answer a couple of questions. From there, the specialist can handle things.

Where Can You Consolidate?

For MAXIMUM flexibility and control, I would consolidate into an online brokerage such as:

 

 

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 988 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.



Previous post:

Next post: