Saturday, December 23, 2006

Update On 401(k) Rollover

As part of my ongoing effort to streamline my finances, I have been working on rolling my previous employer's 401(k) plan into my current employer's plan. I have been able to access my previous employer's plan via the internet in the years since I left that firm, but I think it would be more efficient for me to have all of my 401(k) retirement money in one place.

The first thing I did was request forms from both my old employer and my new employer. They arrived at my house today but to my dismay it looks like the process is going to be a little more complicated than I expected.

The basic idea behind the rollover is that you get your old employer's plan to send you a check for the value of the account, made out to your new plan. You then submit that check to your new employer's plan within 60 days, and it goes into your 401(k) with no negative tax consequences.

I figured it would be fairly easy to do because it was just a matter of filling out and mailing forms.

However, my former employer's rollover application has a bit of a kicker in it- they want my wife to sign a "Waiver of Joint and Survivor Annuity" saying basically that we are giving up our right to get the balance paid to us via an annuity. A signature is fine, but they also want her signature notarized! This means that I have to find a state appointed notary, get that person, my wife, and myself into a room, have my wife prove her identity to the notary, sign the document, and have the notary stamp it.

I think this is a ridiculous step, and adds another unnecessary hurdle to the process of me moving my own money.

I don't know if this is common for most husband and wife combos, but we both leave for work at about seven in the morning and I don't get home until seven in the evening on average. This makes doing something like going to a notary (or doing anything together during normal business hours) a pain in the rear end.

According to the forms though, it has to be done.

If you're planning on rolling over your 401(k) and you're married, plan for this step.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That process is set up to protect you and your money.

Many places that offer notary service have business hours on Saturdays, eg: Banks.