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Financial Learning Center


Distributions from Your Retirement Plan

Rollover into a Traditional IRA

If you don't need your retirement money in a hurry, rolling it over into a traditional IRA may make sense. Instead of putting the money into a bank account or other investment and paying tax on the earnings, you can defer taxes on both the contributions and the earnings if you put the money in a traditional IRA.

By rolling funds into a traditional IRA, you generally will have more control over the timing of the distribution payments and the investment of the undistributed funds. You can invest the money in practically anything you want (there are a few restrictions, such as not being able to invest an IRA in collectibles), although we suggest you remain more conservative in your retirement years (see the section Fine-Tuning Your Investment Strategy).

It is to your advantage to make it a direct rollover. This way, you don't have to get involved in the transfer and no income taxes will be withheld. If you are still working in retirement, you may have the option of rolling your qualified retirement plan money into the new employer's qualified plan.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you receive the distribution (i.e., you don't do a direct rollover) and then decide to roll it over to a traditional IRA, you must complete the rollover generally within 60 days.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since the federal government limits contributions to qualified plans, some employees also participate in nonqualified plans. Unlike qualified plans, money from a nonqualified plan generally cannot be rolled over into an IRA.

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