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Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-21-2007, 12:08 PM   #1
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Retirement Account Overload

How many folks have too many retirement accounts, I know I do. I've tried to tidy things up as I've moved jobs by rolling 401ks into IRAs, but still I find myself with my IRA and after tax money
with one firm, and my State retirement accounts with 3 different providers as there is no overlap between the retirement, 403b and 457 account providers. Keeping everything organized is a pain.
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-21-2007, 01:13 PM   #2
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

I've got a few flavors, too. Roth IRAs (converted from conventional IRAs years ago), plus DWs conventional IRA (just opened it two years ago, turned out we could geta tax break that way), plus a small amount in the federal Thrift Savings Plan (similar to 401k for govt workers) and a solo401K. Within each of these baskets is one or more mutual funds. Rebalancing is more complex than it ought to be--decide what the overall alocation needs to be (both retirement and non-retirement accts), then pull funds around to make it right (trying t keep the tax-inefficient funds in retirement accounts, trying to figure out present and future impacts of selling appreciated shares in non-retirement accounts, etc).

While the various tax-favored retirement accounts have been a boon for those seeking to take care of their retirement needs, the hodgepodge of various types is a nightmare. Congress could help us out by simplifying this whole mess. At the very least, it would be great if the law would mandate that employers allow movement of funds from 401Ks to IRAs (without requiring that the person leave that employer). Maybe not unfettered movement, but some mechansm so we can simplify things.

Or, we could dump the income tax and get the govt out of our financial lives entirely (I won't clmib on the soapbox now).
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-21-2007, 01:28 PM   #3
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

I guess I'm lucky - - I just have my TSP and a Roth IRA. The TSP is my serious retirement account. The Roth is only three months old, but I'm having lots of fun with it.

My sympathies to those of you with so many accounts to keep track of!
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-21-2007, 01:36 PM   #4
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

Definately a problem.

Between my DH and I we have 9 accounts with 4 providers; several funds in each. They are mix of taxable accounts, 403b accounts, defined contribution accounts, Roths, and rollover IRAs. And this is after we consolidated! (we have 1 more account we can move). Makes allocation and rebalancing harder to do. Job hopping definately has a down side here.

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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-21-2007, 01:41 PM   #5
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

I feel your pain!

With my accounts; my late wife's accounts, my current wife's accounts, our combined accounts and my mother's accounts they number at over 35 individual accounts at over 15 institutions. Not all of these are strictly retirement but since I will be using ours to live on as my mother does hers, they soon will be.

My goal in the first few months of ER is to continue to move as much as possible into Vanguard and to eliminate current work accounts with roll-overs or transfers. Some rebalancing will be needed and some cash will be moved into the cash account for living expenses for the rest of the year.
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-21-2007, 01:44 PM   #6
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

Well, right now we have:

* My 401K
* My rollover IRA (401K from previous employer)
* My wife's rollover IRA (403B from previous employer)
* My Roth IRA
* My wife's Roth IRA
* Our taxable brokerage account

None of these can really be consolidated right now and I'm avoiding commingled assets like the plague.
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-21-2007, 02:20 PM   #7
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

Here's how my investments are right now:

401k with previous employer
401k with another previous employer
401k with current employer
Roth IRA with Janus

Mutual funds with Janus
Mutual funds with American Century
Scottrade account

Checking account
Savings Bonds
Emigrant Direct account.

Probably a bit spread out, but it hasn't become too aggravating...yet!

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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-21-2007, 02:52 PM   #8
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Re: Retirement Account Overload


FWIW, I combined all my accounts into one giant spreadsheet, with one line per
holding - separated into sections with a bold-face header line for each account
and a blank line separator. So it is sorta one big data set, with columns
for ticker symbol, stock/bond/cash, type of stock or bond, OER, yield. So
it's pretty easy to set up formulae to get asset allocations, expected earnings,
etc.

This made me a lot happier with trying to grok all my multiple accounts.
Of course the big drawback is that the dollar amount of each holding isn't
automagically uploaded (by doing a download or something) so I have to
update it by hand (from the company webapge) periodically. It's ok though,
kinda a good time to go through my holdings and think about them. And
as I get my portfolio into better order, I expect to number of holdiings to
drop rather dramatically.

Of course, Quicken probably will do all this for you and update values automatically ...

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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-22-2007, 06:25 AM   #9
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford
FWIW, I combined all my accounts into one giant spreadsheet, with one line per
holding - separated into sections with a bold-face header line for each account
and a blank line separator. So it is sorta one big data set, with columns
for ticker symbol, stock/bond/cash, type of stock or bond, OER, yield. So
it's pretty easy to set up formulae to get asset allocations, expected earnings,
etc.
I have ours in Quicken but in a half-a**ed way. It doesn't really track the investments - more of a running tally of close to current totals. I also stuck all of the various holdings in a Morningstar portfolio so I can evaluate the allocation with their X-Ray tool.

Like some others, I am in the process of consolidating several of DW's accounts into Vanguard. Her current firm uses Fidelity and she will probably stick with them. I have an old traditional IRA that I may roll into my TSP account. The only problem with that it looks like I will have to do the heavy lifting - TSP doesn't handle everything the way Vanguard does.
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-22-2007, 07:42 AM   #10
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

We have many accounts as well with each account composed of several funds, but it is not a nightmare and it is not a pain. It is really no trouble whatsoever. So I don't know what all the bellyaching above is all about.

First, you have your investments on autopilot. You don't need to look at them but maybe once or twice a year. Yep, you can just forget about three-quarters of them because you don't add to them or withdraw from them at all in a year or more.

Second, you keep track of the numbers in one place like a shoebox or in software like Quicken, Excel or even at Vanguard (it allows you to enter outside investments with automagically updated values). I prefer Vanguard because of the asset allocation tools which make any rebalancing trivial, since the reality is that you don't touch three-quarters of those accounts anyways.

If you think the triviality of keeping track is a nightmare, then are you overwhelmed with monthly bills and online bill paying? What about all the stuff in your wallet. I doubt that's a problem for you.

And if you still think it's a pain, then do something about it. Move those funds around. Rollover those old 401(k)s. You can do it "in-kind" if you like to keep the funds.

Bottom line: if the problem is big enough to complain here about it, then it's big enough to do something about it. So do it already.
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-22-2007, 09:01 AM   #11
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

As LOL points out the problem maybe more one of perception than practical consequences, but for those of us that like simplicity and ease its still an issue. Dealing with one company would be great, unfortunately the way some accounts are structured makes rollovers impractical.

I'm in a situation where to take the fullest advantage of my retirement saving opportunities I'm forced into having accounts with 3 providers, which is more annoying than anythingelse. As one account is a 457 it would be silly to roll that over to an IRA when I ER. I'll definitely roll the 403b into an IRA, but my State sponsored retirement fund accumulation is after state tax but federal tax deferred it would be an inconvenience to roll that into an IRA and track the basis.

Part of my worry is for folks who aren't as concerned with neatness as me or as "put together" as LOL who might lose track of the numerous accounts they acquire over a working life.
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-22-2007, 09:12 AM   #12
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

By the way, having multiple IRAs can be useful if you plan to use Rule 72(t) some day. Because you can use SEPP on any number of distinct IRAs, you can tailor your withdrawals as needed. Maybe you only need $5,000 a year for a while; you may be able to get that by using SEPP on only one IRA with (say) $100,000 in assets. Other IRAs can be untouched (and untaxed) unless you need more income later, at which time you can use SEPP on another IRA, on a different schedule.

If you consolidate into one IRA, you simplify life but lose some flexibility in tailoring 72(t) withdrawals.
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-22-2007, 09:46 AM   #13
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

many accounts but only one place - vanguard.
it's no big deal.
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-22-2007, 10:00 AM   #14
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

I still have one file cabinet of DRIP plans to close and move to my Vanguard Broker account.

lazy lazy lazy - and a lot of swearing at tax time.

heh heh heh - sigh! I'll get organized someday - maybe.
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Re: Retirement Account Overload
Old 02-22-2007, 12:39 PM   #15
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Re: Retirement Account Overload

Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29
If you consolidate into one IRA, you simplify life but lose some flexibility in tailoring 72(t) withdrawals.
You can always split one IRA up again later though, right?

2Cor521
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