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How Does a Roth 401K to Roth IRA Work for Railroad Retirement? Thumbnail

How Does a Roth 401K to Roth IRA Work for Railroad Retirement?

Video Retirement Financial Planning Investing

Welcome to another session of Highball Advisors Railroad Retirement whiteboard. I'm John McNamara from Highball Advisors. Today, I'll discuss how railroaders can transition their Roth 401k savings into Roth IRAs as they move on from their careers.

Many railroad employees contribute to Roth 401ks, which offer tax-free growth. However, upon leaving the railroad or transitioning to another job, they may wish to transfer these funds into a Roth IRA. There are specific rules governing this process, so let's explore how you can move your Roth 401k funds to a Roth IRA.

The Roth 401k, managed by your employer, allows tax-free contributions. This option is ideal if you anticipate higher future tax rates or believe your income will increase over time. On the other hand, the Roth IRA offers similar benefits but is managed individually.

To determine eligibility for a direct transfer, your Roth 401k must meet two criteria: it should be funded for at least five years, and you must be over 59 and a half. If these conditions are met, you can transfer funds directly to a Roth IRA and access them immediately.

It's crucial to start the five-year clock early, either by contributing to a Roth IRA now or ensuring your Roth 401k has been open for the required period. This strategy helps avoid penalties on withdrawals, particularly on earnings that haven't met the five-year threshold.

For instance, if a railroader with $500,000 in a Roth 401k transfers it to a Roth IRA and sees the balance grow to $600,000 within a year, they can access the initial $500,000 immediately. However, the additional $100,000 in earnings would incur penalties if withdrawn within five years.

Navigating the transfer from Roth 401k to Roth IRA requires careful consideration of these rules to avoid unexpected tax liabilities. For personalized guidance on your retirement planning journey, consider signing up for our Railroad Retirement process. Feel free to drop any questions in the comments section. Stay safe, stay on track, and take care!

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. Highball Advisors encourages you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Highball Advisors, and all rights are reserved from Highball Advisors, and all rights are reserved.