Despite these financial facts, Americans’ optimism regarding their economic future will likely remain high. This is one of the things that makes America great and truly inspiring. While past performance is no prediction of future results, I would much rather live in a country where people believe they can pull through difficult circumstances than in one with a dismal outlook.
One of the advantages of partial IRA rollovers is that it can help you spread out accounts with different providers. Aggregate costs for managing two accounts rather than one may be slightly higher than having just one account and having multiple accounts doesn’t increase your IRA contribution limits. However, having multiple accounts at different providers can allow you to diversify across different investment options.
These loans have been described[by whom?] as tax-disadvantaged, on the theory that the 401(k) contains before-tax dollars, but the loan is repaid with after-tax dollars. While this is precisely correct, the analysis is fundamentally flawed with regard to the loan principal amounts. From your perspective as the borrower, this is identical to a standard loan where you are not taxed when you get the loan, but you have to pay it back with taxed dollars. However, the interest portion of the loan repayments, which are essentially additional contributions to the 401(k), are made with after-tax funds but they do not increase the after-tax basis in the 401(k). Therefore, upon distribution/conversion of those funds the owner will have to pay taxes on those funds a second time.[14]
There are subtle differences between what is considered an IRA rollover, and what is considered an IRA transfer. The important thing to know - with either one for the rollover to be tax-free, the funds must be deposited in the new account no later than 60 days from the time they were withdrawn from the old one (unless it's a trustee-to-trustee transfer, as discussed in more detail below).

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 made automatic enrollment a safer option for employers. Prior to the Pension Protection Act, employers were held responsible for investment losses as a result of such automatic enrollments. The Pension Protection Act established a safe harbor for employers in the form of a "Qualified Default Investment Alternative", an investment plan that, if chosen by the employer as the default plan for automatically enrolled participants, relieves the employer of financial liability. Under Department of Labor regulations, three main types of investments qualify as QDIAs: lifecycle funds, balanced funds, and managed accounts. QDIAs provide sponsors with fiduciary relief similar to the relief that applies when participants affirmatively elect their investments.[35]


There is also a maximum 401(k) contribution limit that applies to all employee and employer 401(k) contributions in a calendar year. This limit is the section 415 limit, which is the lesser of 100% of the employee's total pre-tax compensation or $56,000 for 2019, or $57,000 in 2020.[28][27] For employees over 50, the catch-up contribution limit is also added to the section 415 limit.
For some, this distribution could increase their taxable income in such a way that it pushes them into a higher tax bracket. This could reduce eligibility for tax credits and deductions. To eliminate or mitigate the impact of this income, many charitably inclined people often make a type of qualified charitable distribution (QCD) referred to as a Charitable IRA Rollover. This is not treated as taxable income, and allows people satisfy their required minimum distribution (RMD).
If you’re no longer employed by the employer maintaining your retirement plan and your plan account is between $1,000 and $5,000, the plan administrator may deposit the money into an IRA in your name if you don’t elect to receive the money or roll it over. If your plan account is $1,000 or less, the plan administrator may pay it to you, less, in most cases, 20% income tax withholding, without your consent. You can still roll over the distribution within 60 days.
You should contact your financial or tax advisor to determine if a donor advised fund (DAF) is appropriate for you. They may also be able to advise you on reputable sponsoring organizations. Once you determine the organization with which you will establish a fund, typically you only need to complete a few forms and transfer assets. You will want to determine if the fees and grant policies of the sponsoring organization suit your goals.
Having enough savings to afford a comfortable retirement has been an issue for a long time now. In fact, some economists have recently estimated that millennials will face even a harder challenge and should save almost half of their income if they wish to retire at 65. However, the good news is that some parts of the country are friendlier on the wallet than others when it comes to retirement. Our newest visualization shows the average amount that a person will need to retire comfortably in each state, as well as the average retirement age by state.
As the table above shows, in 2015 roughly 55% of American retirees had less than $25,000 saved for retirement, and 71% of all American retirees had less than $100,000 saved. Even if you subset to those with a retirement plan in 2016, 51% of American retirees had less than $100,000 saved. That means that half of all American retirees will likely not have enough money for retirement.
There is also a maximum 401(k) contribution limit that applies to all employee and employer 401(k) contributions in a calendar year. This limit is the section 415 limit, which is the lesser of 100% of the employee's total pre-tax compensation or $56,000 for 2019, or $57,000 in 2020.[28][27] For employees over 50, the catch-up contribution limit is also added to the section 415 limit.
Direct rollover – If you’re getting a distribution from a retirement plan, you can ask your plan administrator to make the payment directly to another retirement plan or to an IRA. Contact your plan administrator for instructions. The administrator may issue your distribution in the form of a check made payable to your new account. No taxes will be withheld from your transfer amount.

Income taxes on pre-tax contributions and investment earnings in the form of interest and dividends are tax deferred. The ability to defer income taxes to a period where one's tax rates may be lower is a potential benefit of the 401(k) plan. The ability to defer income taxes has no benefit when the participant is subject to the same tax rates in retirement as when the original contributions were made or interest and dividends earned. Earnings from investments in a 401(k) account in the form of capital gains are not subject to capital gains taxes. This ability to avoid this second level of tax is a primary benefit of the 401(k) plan. Relative to investing outside of 401(k) plans, more income tax is paid but less taxes are paid overall with the 401(k) due to the ability to avoid taxes on capital gains.

Even if we assume that most Americans will get Social Security income, where the average benefit is roughly $16,000 per year (as of November 2016, see here), and that the median balance at retirement is $130,000, this article suggests this is reasonable, the math doesn’t look good. With a 4% withdrawal rate over 30 years, this gives our average American retiree $21,200 a year to live off. Now this is better than living off of dog food, but I doubt $1,766 a month will be a “comfortable” retirement for most Americans.


401(k) plans charge fees for administrative services, investment management services, and sometimes outside consulting services. They can be charged to the employer, the plan participants or to the plan itself and the fees can be allocated on a per participant basis, per plan, or as a percentage of the plan's assets. For 2011, the average total administrative and management fees on a 401(k) plan was 0.78 percent or approximately $250 per participant.[36] The United States Supreme Court ruled, in 2015, that plan administrators could be sued for excessive plan fees and expenses, in Tibble v. Edison International.[37] In the Tibble case, the Supreme Court took strong issue with a large company placing plan investments in "retail" mutual fund shares as opposed to "institutional" class shares.[38]
Unlike the Roth IRA, there is no upper income limit capping eligibility for Roth 401(k) contributions. Individuals who find themselves disqualified from a Roth IRA may contribute to their Roth 401(k). Individuals who qualify for both can contribute the maximum statutory amounts into either or a combination of the two plans (including both catch-up contributions if applicable). Aggregate statutory annual limits set by the IRS will apply.[10]
No, IRA rollovers are not taxable events unless you fail to complete your rollover within a 60-day window. In that event, your rollover is treated as a statutory distribution, and you may be subject to a 10 percent early distribution penalty if you’re younger than age 59 1/2. Although not taxable, IRA rollovers must be reported to the IRS in annual tax filings.
For accumulated after-tax contributions and earnings in a designated Roth account (Roth 401(k)), "qualified distributions" can be made tax-free. To qualify, distributions must be made more than 5 years after the first designated Roth contributions and not before the year in which the account owner turns age 59, unless an exception applies as detailed in IRS code section 72(t). In the case of designated Roth contributions, the contributions being made on an after-tax basis means that the taxable income in the year of contribution is not decreased as it is with pre-tax contributions. Roth contributions are irrevocable and cannot be converted to pre-tax contributions at a later date. (In contrast to Roth individual retirement accounts (IRAs), where Roth contributions may be re characterized as pre-tax contributions.) Administratively, Roth contributions must be made to a separate account, and records must be kept that distinguish the amount of contribution and the corresponding earnings that are to receive Roth treatment.
To complete an IRA rollover, you must not have done another rollover in the past 12 months. You must also be eligible to move money from your current retirement account. This typically means that you must have separated from employment at the company providing your retirement benefits and are no longer eligible to participate in their retirement plan.
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