Spousal IRAs

Couple sharing a light momentSo you have a retirement account — or several — and your spouse does as well. Perhaps you’ve found that managing contributions and paperwork for multiple accounts is challenging and time-consuming. Did you know that you can consolidate the accounts you and your spouse may hold?

Consolidating separate retirement accounts belonging to you and your spouse or domestic partner into an IRA can help simplify your finances.

When should I consider consolidating IRAs?

Consider rolling over multiple accounts into one IRA if you are experiencing any of these financial planning challenges1:

  1. You're spending too much time on paperwork.
    Keeping track of multiple plans through multiple statements has become unmanageable. You’re not sure what to keep, or what to throw out.
  2. You can’t see a complete and clear picture of your financial position.
    Remember, you're not necessarily well-diversified just because you have assets in several different retirement plans. By rolling over into a single IRA, it’s much easier to review and fine-tune asset allocation. You'll also be in a better position to track potential returns and ensure they're in line with your retirement time horizon.
  3. You're paying considerable expenses on your retirement money.
    Paying management fees for each retirement account you own? Account expenses could be taking a large bite out of your returns.

How do I choose a new IRA to roll my accounts into?

If you've decided it's time to consolidate, it's important to choose an IRA with a company that understands the specific needs of people saving for retirement.

Here's what to look for:

  • A reputation for integrity and stability. Be sure to review the ratings and performance of companies and accounts before moving any funds.
  • Opportunities to diversify over an array of asset classes, such as guaranteed, money market, fixed income, real estate and stocks.
  • Lower expenses. Look carefully at associated fees and charges before you invest. Sales, surrender, and transaction costs vary widely from company to company. Even when such fees are low or waived, annual expense charges can make a big difference in your total return over time.
  • A wide array of options for distributions at retirement. Be sure to evaluate all your options so that when the time comes to receive distributions from your retirement account, you can make a smooth transition. Ask about lump-sum and periodic payments, systematic withdrawals, minimum distributions, and lifetime annuity income. Remember that withdrawals may be subject to ordinary income tax and a federal 10% early withdrawal penalty may apply prior to age 59½.

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