The best person to answer this question is probably your profit sharing plan administrator, or someone in HR. As a general statement, you typically cannot take distributions from a profit sharing plan without penalty before age 59 1/2. However, there several exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you terminate your employment (retire) during or after the year in which you turn 55, the penalty may not apply. With that being said, your former employer may also have some specific restrictions on distributions, so again, I would check with them first.
Brian Pinkston, CFA, CFP®, Financial Advisor, Anchorage, Alaska
The timing of the payout after you retire or leave the company depends on the plan document. Check with your company's HR department or plan administrator for specifics on your plan.
A profit-sharing plan is a defined contribution plan in which your employer has discretion to determine when and how much the company pays into the plan. The amount allocated to each individual account is usually based on the salary level of the participant (employee). Your employer's contributions to your account, and any investment earnings, accumulate on a tax-deferred basis--the IRS will tax these benefits as part of your regular income only when you begin receiving distributions from the plan, typically after you retire or terminate employment. Most plans contain a vesting schedule, often between three and six years, during which time an employee becomes fully vested in the plan. If you were to leave the company prior to full vesting, you would forfeit all or a portion of the account's accumulated value.
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Great answers above. You should have received a packet from your company. If you can't locate that document, I'd suggest contacting the HR Department of your company. In addition, you can always call the plan itself, as there should be phone numbers on your informational statements.
Marian, some companies do not post their profit sharing until year end. Others have what are called ‘pooled’ accounts, where calculations are not done for a period of time, typically after year end. These accounts are not so common anymore.
Your answer lies with the plan administrator, who, as the name implies, administers the plan. Call HR and get the number for the plan administrator.