Jay Vivian, former managing director of the IBM Retirement Funds, on why rolling over your 401(k) is important. More on rolling over multiple retirement accounts.


A lot of people ask what you do when you leave an employer where you’ve got money in the employer’s retirement plan. I’m talking for defined contribution now. For a 401(k) or a 403(b), for example. Some 401(k)s are very well run, like the one that we had at IBM. Some of them are maybe not so well run.

So if you’re leaving IBM then you should definitely leave your money at IBM because it’s very well run. If you’re going to a company that has high fees or doesn’t have a good family of funds offered in the lineup or that you think maybe isn’t paying attention to the plan as well as they should, maybe you should roll it into the plan of your new employer. If the new employer’s plan is good. You could also roll it into an IRA.

If you’re leaving a place and you don’t want to leave it there and you’re going to a place where you don’t know anything about the 401(k) or the 403(b) maybe you should roll it into a low cost IRA. That’s another good offering for you. So as I say, it’s not an easy decision but make sure to make the decision wisely based on where you’re coming from and where you’re going to.

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