Julia is now in her early 50s. She has had two jobs in her career so far and participated fully in the defined-contribution plans offered by both employers. When she left her first position, she rolled her retirement account over to the account at her new employer, and it is currently worth about $380,000. Now she is about to change jobs again. But this time, she is taking a job with the Consumer Financial Protection Agency in Washington, DC. She will also be taking about four months off from working before starting that government job. The federal government retirement program is a defined-benefit plan. That means she cannot transfer her private sector plan to the government plan and therefore must decide whether to leave the funds within her current employer’s plan or open a rollover IRA account into which to transfer the funds tax-and penalty-free. Another alternative available to her is to withdraw the $380,000 from her current account, pay income taxes on it this year (probably at a high federal marginal tax rate of 39.6), and invest the proceeds (about $228,000) in a new Roth IRA account. Offer your opinions about her thinking.

  • CreatedNovember 26, 2014
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