Hi Patricia, Like Mr. Glass said without more information it's hard to give you a real answer. Also, he has given you some good information on what steps you need to take now. But it will be important to know what to do once you take out your money. If you have less than $5,000, your employer may want you to to take your money, however cashing out is not the best idea. Small amounts can grow large with time and tax-deferred compounding. You should roll your money into another retirement account.
Go to the below site and watch the Fidelity video, it's very good, then contact a specialist and talk to them about what your best options are.
Hope this helps.
Patricia, As Joe indicated, unless you are retiring, it is best to take the retirement money you saved at this account and either a) roll it into your new employers retirement plan or b) roll it over into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) where it can continue to grow tax deferred for retirement. A successful retirement requires continuity, that is, a constant stream of small contributions over your entire career. If you take money out in the middle of the game, you will likely have to pay taxes and penalties, but more importantly, you will negate all of the work you did while at that employer to save for retirement and deal a blow to your future financial security.
In order to accomplish a rollover, you can either contact your new employers plan administrator and ask how to do a direct rollover, or you can open an individual retirement account with a financial advisor you trust, and they can help you open an IRA and initiate the rollover. They can also help with investment strategy.
If you are retiring, then it might be wise for you to meet with a Certified Financial Planner to discuss the smartest strategy for using your retirement savings to supplement other retirement income sources like Social Security and pensions. Most of the advisors on this board seem to be CFP's, you could search for one located near you and ask for personalized advice. Good Luck! Jim
Hi Patricia, If you haven't reached a conclusion and would like some assistance in recovering your money from your former employer, our firm would be happy to assist. Whether you decide to simply "cash out" or wish to reinvest those funds, we would be happy to provide guidance. We will even contact your former employer on your behalf to begin the process. I can be reached at (886)321-6228 x.203
I am happy to answer your question regarding how to get your money out of your former employer's retirement plan.
Because I do not know what type of plan you have been a participant in, and I do not know anything about the plans provisions regarding distributions to terminated participants, and I do not know anything about you and your work history, I am unable to give you specific advise. However, I can tell you that the best way to go about finding out if you are entitled to receive a distribution and then do the proper things to get your money if you are currently entitled to get a distribution, is to call your former employer's office and speak to the person who would normally handle terminated participant matters.
Once you get connected with that person, you should ask them what you need to do to get your distribution from the plan. They will either send you any forms that are needed to be signed by you and perhaps your spouse (if you are married), as well as other information describing your options and rights and tax information. If you are not entitled to get a distribution, then they will most likely send you an explanation regarding the reason that you may not be entitled to be paid now.
I hope the above gives you the information you need to pursue getting your money as you have indicated is your desire.
Herbert Glass Certified Pension Consultant Glass Retirement Strategies, Inc.
Patricia, you can contact the plan administrator for a withdrawal, but you will have to pay income taxes and if you are not 59 1/2 pay an additional 10% in penalties. If you do that, it is very expensive money.
The 401(k) is designed to encourage people to save for retirement. When you put money into a 401(k) you get certain tax advantages to encourage you to save for retirement. If you defeat that intent, it is costly.
Alternatively, you can transfer that money into an IRA and save the tax advantage. Short of hitting Lotto or an inheritance, that money is typically needed badly at retirement.