Traditional and Roth IRAs, rollovers and conversions

Key Points

  • Traditional and Roth IRAs offer tax advantages and a wide choice of investment options.
  • Ameriprise Financial offers a special beneficiary restriction for IRAs to control how assets are distributed.
  • You can consider, by reviewing the potential benefits and risks, a rollover from a 401(k) plan to an IRA. Consult with your advisor to discuss your individual situation.
  • An individual retirement account (IRA) can supplement your workplace retirement plan and provide an easy way to save for a confident retirement.

Contributing to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA may generate either tax-deferred or tax-free growth on the money you contribute. These earnings are then reinvested into your account and may generate even more earnings.

Traditional and Roth IRAs

There are two primary types of IRAs – Traditional and Roth. Each offers tax advantages and a wide variety of investment choices.

You can choose one or both depending on your tax situation and income, but all IRAs together are subject to the combined contribution limit.

  • Traditional IRAs are generally funded with pretax contributions and are taxed as ordinary income when withdrawing funds in retirement.
  • Roth IRAs are always funded with after-tax contributions and are tax free when you withdraw the money in retirement. You must satisfy rules on qualified distributions for the withdrawals to be considered tax-free.

You can make contributions throughout the year or in a lump sum by the contribution deadline (usually the tax return due date — not including extensions — in the following year). Yearly contribution limits are subject to change.

Workplace retirement plan rollovers

If you've changed jobs or recently retired, you may have multiple retirement plans with different providers. A rollover from an old workplace retirement plan to an Ameriprise® IRA may provide you with a more complete picture of your savings for retirement.

Some Ameriprise IRAs also have a unique feature that allows clients to restrict some beneficiaries from using the funds too quickly.

A workplace retirement plan rollover:

  • Provides greater control over the investment of your retirement assets
  • Allows a greater range of investment options than most employer retirement plans
  • May provide more distribution flexibility than an employer plan
  • Is not subject to a mandatory 20% withholding when rolled directly to an IRA
  • Provides flexible beneficiary and estate planning options
  • Maintains tax-deferred status of the account
  • Sometimes you can even rollover funds while you are still working

However, there are also some scenarios where it may make sense to leave assets in an employer plan. Some advantages to leaving assets in an employer qualified plan may include:

  • Special tax treatment for a lump sum distribution of appreciated employer stock
  • No 10% penalty for pre 59½ withdrawals if you leave your employer in the year you turn 55 or later*

    *For certain public safety workers in governmental plans, participants who stop working in the year they turn age 50 or can avoid the 10% penalty and 457(b) plans don’t have a 10% penalty at any age.
     
  • Protection of assets from creditors; assets in ERISA qualified plans are protected under federal law while IRA asset protection outside of bankruptcy depends on state law
  • Access to competitively priced investments

Rollover assets to an IRA while still employed

By using this little known option, you may be able to transfer assets from your workplace 401(k) into a personal IRA while you’re still employed. Ask your advisor to help you explore the pros and cons of an in-service IRA rollover strategy.

Roth IRA conversions

You may want to consider converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.

A Roth IRA offers a number of benefits that are not available with a traditional IRA or other pre-tax retirement plans, including:

  • Tax-free potential growth
  • Tax-free withdrawals
  • No lifetime required minimum withdrawals

A conversion of a pre-tax retirement plan to a Roth IRA is generally taxable in the year of the conversion so it is important to weigh the costs and benefits of a Roth IRA conversion. Consult your tax advisor to determine if a Roth conversion is right for you.

Take the next step

Contact an Ameriprise financial advisor today to learn more about your IRA, rollover and conversion options.