Roth IRA

With a Roth IRA, there is no upfront tax break. That being said, withdrawals in retirement are completely tax-free. Eligibility to contribute to a Roth IRA is based on your income. The maximum annual contribution is $6,000 (or $7,000 if you are over 50 years old).

Rollover IRA

A rollover IRA is an account that allows you to transfer assets from an old employer-sponsored retirement account to a traditional IRA. The purpose is to maintain the tax-deferred status of those assets. Rollover IRA accounts do not cap the amount of money that an employee can roll over. They also allow account holders to invest in various assets like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Brokerage accounts

A brokerage is a firm that buys and sells securities and assets for its clients. As the investments earn interest or dividends, the taxes accrued are taxed during that tax year. This type of account offers a lot of flexibility in your investment choices. 

Many brokerage firms allow you to open an account with no initial deposit. You do, however, need to fund the account before you purchase investments. You can do this by transferring money from your personal bank account or another brokerage account.

Popular brokerage firms include Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments, and Ameritrade.

Reasons to Consolidate Your 401k 

Now that you know which retirement accounts to look for, it’s time to consolidate your investments. Here are five reasons to consolidate your disparate 401k accounts into a single fund.

Reduced expenses

Over time, fees associated with 401ks can add up. These fees can include account-level fees, fund expenses, and trading fees. Some charge annual fees above 1% of your assets each year.

If you have a handful of accounts, you’ll still pay those fees each year even if you are no longer actively contributing. As these fees increase, the growth of your savings will be hindered.

If you consolidate your 401k or transfer the money from the various accounts into an IRA, you stand to save a lot of money. IRAs tend to have lower administrative costs, and they give you more freedom to invest your money how you choose.

Everything in one place means less record keeping

When you have many different accounts, you can become swamped by emails, calls, and statements. It’s easy to lose important information and notifications this way, and you may even forget about old 401ks. 

When you consolidate your 401k or retirement accounts in general, you greatly reduce the time spent on record keeping. You also reduce the risk of missing important notifications. As you age, your risk tolerance also declines, and you may need to readjust the allocation of your assets. This is a lot easier to do when you can see everything in one place.

You can better optimize your investments

When you have several accounts held in different places, it is more difficult to have a well-diversified portfolio. As an investor, you are limited to the options provided within your firm’s plan. 

When you consolidate your accounts, you open yourself up to more investment options. If you go through an account custodian like Charles Schwab or Vanguard, thousands of new investment options will become available.

It will be easier to calculate your RMD 

At some point in your retirement, you will be required to take money from each retirement account that you have. These are called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). When this starts at age 70.5, you will have multiple custodians contacting you every year to process these distributions. 

If you have a lot of accounts, that means a lot of calculations need to be done. With a consolidated statement, you only need to perform one calculation.

If you fail to take out your RMDs annually, you face a 50% penalty on the amount you should have withdrawn. It becomes a lot easier to avoid those withdrawal penalties with a consolidated account.

You will simplify estate administration

If you have many accounts, estate administration will be very complicated for your heirs and the executor of your will. If you leave money behind, it will be a lot easier for your heirs to transfer money from a single account.

As you rise in your career, you may find yourself leaving behind a trail of retirement plans in your wake. Take time after starting a new job to note what retirement accounts you are leaving behind and how best to consolidate them in the future.

And as always, schedule a conversation with your financial advisor. They will provide you with guidance that ensures your retirement money is working as hard as possible for your golden years.

This content was originally published here.

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