Slott Report Mailbag: Can I Transfer Money From My Employer Plan Into an IRA or Roth WHILE Still Employed?
By Joe Cicchinelli, IRA Technical Expert
Follow Me on Twitter: @JoeCiccEdSlott
You are still working. You want to convert some of your employer plan funds to a Roth IRA to follow Ed Slott's advice and begin years worth of tax-free saving. Can you? We examine the answer to that question and more in this week's Slott Report Mailbag. As always, we stress the importance of working with a competent, educated financial advisor to keep your retirement nest egg safe and secure. Find one in your area at this link.
I've been reading Ed's book, The Retirement Savings Time Bomb and I am finding it very helpful. I would like to follow his basic advice to get as much of my retirement funds as possible into a Roth IRA.
I'm confused, though, because it's not always clear to me whether a particular bit of advice is intended for people who are still working, or for those already retired and drawing money.
Is it possible to transfer money out of my retirement plan and into an IRA and/or Roth WHILE I am still employed?
Or is such transfer of funds possible only AFTER I retire and start taking distributions from the plan?
And when Ed says something is permitted, I assume he means only that the IRS permits it: am I right that the employer's PLAN might NOT allow some things even when the IRS does?
Transferring funds out of a plan while you’re still working, known as in-service distributions, varies depending on the type of plan and the particular options under your plan. Ask your plan administrator or read the summary plan description to see if an in-service distribution is available. You are correct when you say that a plan may not always allow what the tax code allows.
I am so scared of unwittingly doing/not doing something critical. That deadline for RMDs is looming ominously close for me, yet I'm still getting a salary. And I'm afraid to stop working, because I believe that my ability to contribute funds to a Roth ends with the end of being employed: is that correct?
You need compensation from employment to make a Roth IRA contribution. If you stop working but are married and your spouse has compensation, you can use your spouse’s compensation to make spousal Roth IRA contributions.
Is there some place where I can get a coherent written statement of all the "rules" that apply to my plan?
Yes. It’s called the summary plan description. You should be able to get a copy of it from your benefits department or your company may have a copy of it online on your employee benefits web site.
Maybe you can direct me to one of your "Master Elite" advisors in the vicinity of Morristown/Mendham/Chester, NJ, preferably someone with expertise specifically in both the TIAA-CREF system and the dictates of NJ re its public college employees?
Please check our website, www.irahelp.com for a list of our advisors. Check the “Elite” tab and then choose “Find an advisor”
Mr. Slott and Company,
I appreciate your newsletter every month. Your expertise is appreciated. Here's a question for your mailbag.
I am looking for info on how to calculate my Social security payment if I stop working early. I'm 56 and may be able to stop working at 58. Can you advise on how the SSA calculates the payments at 62 and 66?
Here's how I'm thinking that my income will change over the time when I retire at 58 and start collecting SS at 66. I currently make $100,000 per year. At 58 I plan to withdraw $60,000 per year from my 401(k).
I believe I will still pay Social Security tax on that income. I also believe that the SSA calculates the payout at age 66 based on the last 3 years of income or is it on the 3 consecutive highest years of income?
That is my question. Will the last 8 years of income at a lower level affect my SS payout?
Can you help me with this planning question?
While we do not provide help with Social Security issues, this is a great question, and we shared it to let our readers know that some of our trained advisors do have expertise in this area. Please check our website, www.irahelp.com for a list of our advisors. Check the “Elite” tab and then choose “Find an advisor”
Did the 2012 tax act effect conversions to Roth IRAs for individuals or couples who’s MAGI (modified adjusted gross income) is too high to contribute to a Roth directly? Does this loophole appear safe for a while longer? Thanks!
There is no income limit to convert IRA funds to a Roth IRA or to convert 401(k) funds to a Roth 401(k). The 2012 tax act did not change this rule. It also did not change the fact that there are income limits for making Roth IRA contributions. For 2013, the ability to make a Roth contribution begins to phase out at $178,000 if you are married filing joint and at $112,000 if you file single.
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