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The newsletter articles on this page provide valuable information on timely and interesting financial issues across a variety of subject areas, including retirement, investments, personal finance, annuities, insurance, taxes, college, and government benefits.


Don't Let Rising Interest Rates Catch You by Surprise
Future of the Federal Estate Tax
The Health-Wealth Connection
What is a rollover IRA, and do I need one?
Can I roll my traditional 401(k) account balance over to a Roth IRA?


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What is a rollover IRA, and do I need one?

Generally, the term "rollover IRA" refers to an IRA that you establish to receive funds from an employer retirement plan like a 401(k). A rollover IRA is also sometimes referred to as a "conduit IRA."

When you roll funds over from an employer plan to an IRA, your financial institution may suggest that you use a rollover IRA to receive the funds. Of course, you can transfer those dollars to any other IRA you own at some future date, because there's no legal requirement that you keep your plan distribution in a separate IRA. But even though separate IRAs are not legally required, there are at least two reasons to consider keeping your employer plan rollover separate from your contributory IRAs.

The first reason to maintain a separate rollover IRA deals with federal bankruptcy law. Your IRAs are protected from your creditors under federal law if you declare bankruptcy, but this protection is currently limited to $1.28 million for all your IRAs.1 The $1.28 million limit doesn't apply, though, to amounts you roll over to an IRA from an employer plan, or any earnings on that rollover. These dollars are protected in full if you declare bankruptcy, just as they would have been in your employer's plan. Obviously, it's easier to track the amount rolled over, and any future earnings, if you keep those dollars separate from your contributory IRAs. So a rollover IRA may make sense if creditor protection is important to you.

The second reason to maintain a rollover IRA is that you might decide in the future that you want to roll your distribution back into a new employer's plan. In the distant past, employer plans could accept rollovers only from rollover (conduit) IRAs — rollovers from contributory IRAs weren't permitted. Now, however, employer plans can accept rollovers from both contributory IRAs and rollover IRAs.2 Despite this, employer plans aren't required to accept rollovers, and they can limit the types of contributions they'll accept. And while it's becoming less common, some still accept rollovers only from rollover IRAs. So keep this in mind if you are contemplating a rollover back to an employer plan in the future.

1SEP and SIMPLE IRAs have unlimited protection under federal bankruptcy law.

2Nontaxable traditional IRA dollars can't be rolled back into an employer plan.

 
©2017 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.
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 IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: Pursuant to recently enacted U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, we are now required advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice expressed above was neither written nor intended by the sender or this firm to be used and cannot be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under U.S. tax law. If any person uses or refers to any such tax advice in promoting, marketing or recommending a partnership or other entity, investment plan or arrangement to any taxpayer, then the advice should be considered to have been written to support the promotion or marketing by a person other than the sender or this firm of that transaction or matter, and such taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer's particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Copyright © 2016 Michael David Schulman. All rights reserved.
 


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