The Question

I’ve saved over $600,000 in my 401(k) plan and plan to retire soon. My HR department says I can choose to keep the money in the 401(k) plan after I retire. What should I do?


Congrats on retiring soon. Yes, you can leave the funds in your retirement plan at work. That is an option for most 401k participants  with balances typically over $10,000.00.

Things to consider:

1) Two Distribution calculations- If you have an IRA and a 401k, then you have to calculate and take minimum distributions from each. Whereas if you combined the 401k into the IRA, then only one calculation is needed per year.

2) Investment options- many 401ks are very heavy in Target date funds or limited choices. Which may be fine; IRAs tend to offer more investment choices, allowing the participant greater discretion over their finances.

3) Simplification- keeping track of accounts, especially as we age, gets harder- and then if someone has to step in and help, it can be harder for them to manage multiple accounts and rules.

Paul Doak, CFP(R)

206-774-0262 Answered question May 21, 2023

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