ConfusedIRA, on Oct 27 2008, 11:12 PM, said:
I'm 40, married and have 2 kids and currently on medical leave under my company's long term disability plan due to a recent breast cancer diagnosis. Since I am not allowed to contribute to my company's 401K, a few weeks ago, I have just terminated my 401K - I have about $170K. I am now ready to put it in a Rollover IRA. I don't know which company and what kind of funds to rollover it to. Yes, I'm only 40 but given my health conditions, don't know whether to invest based on a retirement age (60's) or sooner since I might need to tap into it sooner than later. I have been given various advises like putting in an annuity. But don't they have a high fees? Isn't it for older folks? Should I go for no-load funds? Should I park it under CDs? buy bonds? or go the mutual fund route and hopefully buying low? All of these would still be under a Rollover IRA type program. I also have a Roth IRA. Pls. advice as I'm lost. Thanks.
There is no reason to put tax-deferred money from a 401k into an annuity which is a tax deferred account, unless you want to make some salesperson very happy with the high commission it will generate for them. Normally annuities have load fees, high annual expenses and awful surrender charges.
Bonds are mainly for income, so putting the money into bonds is not going to give you much if any growth over the long term. You would want to buy quality bonds and they probably would not keep up with inflation.
If you received a check from your 401k custodian made out to you, you only have 60 days to roll it into an IRA otherwise it will be deemed a withdrawal and you’ll be hit with a 10% penalty and it will be considered ordinary income. You could go to your local bank (make sure they have FDIC insurance) and put it into a short term IRA CD until you decide exactly what you want to do with it, don’t let the bank talk you into anything else (save a plain old savings account), if they try pushing mutual funds they will be load funds (they need to make a living).
You might want to go to your local library and get out a book called “Common Sense on Mutual Funds” by John Bogel, who is the founder of Vanguard’s Index funds. Vanguard, Fidelity, T Rowe Price are no load mutual funds companies and there are others. We have most of our assets at Vanguard and Fidelity, one nice thing about Fidelity you can get to talk to someone 24 hours a day every day (well, maybe not on a holiday-I never called them then). Mr. Bogel definitely is in favor of index funds, with a Total Stock Market Index Fund or an S&P Index Fund you’ll do exactly what the market does (less expenses) no more no less and for a start that’s fine. Best to get some education before you end up in a bad situation. You could also go to www.bobbrinker.com, Mr. Brinker has been on the radio for about 22 years and he gives financial advise. At his web site on the left hand side there is a section entitled Education, you can check that out for all type of information. Bob is a big believer in no-load funds.
Good luck and I hope you make out okay on your diagnosis.