How to Get Money Out of Your Old Retirement Plan

If you’ve ever retired from or left a job, you know how difficult it can be to get money out of your old retirement plan. All you want to do is take a distribution and roll it over into a new IRA, but that ends up being a lot more work than you anticipated. We have dealt with this process for clients of Mullooly Asset Management before, and it can be frustrating. These pending cases sometimes take months to resolve, and that is not acceptable. Investors are entitled to this money that they contributed to the plan, and they shouldn’t have to wait to receive it when they leave a job. Tom and Brendan discuss how to get money out of your old retirement plan when you leave a job in this week’s Mullooly Asset Management podcast. We’ve previously spoken about this topic in another podcast that you can find here.

In most instances if you work at a larger company, your retirement plan will be held at an online discount brokerage firm. When online discount brokerage firms are used the money will be much easier to obtain. Discount brokerage firms have dedicated service teams that are often available 24/7. We have seen distributions require just a phone call and a few days waiting for the check in the mail. This is how the process of getting your money out of an old retirement plan should go.get money out of your old retirement plan

Most of the problems arise when investors have a retirement plan that isn’t at a discount brokerage firm. A lot of smaller companies have smaller retirement plans hosted at a variety of places. Often when somebody wants to take a distribution from a smaller plan, the administrator (often the small business owner) has to sign off on any moves or changes. Tom and Brendan have also seen a lot of “lost” paperwork, filing mistakes, and other mishaps when it comes to the broker or firm in charge of the old retirement plan. They like to drag their feet and make the distribution more difficult than it has to be. We have dealt with, and are currently dealing with, situations of this type at Mullooly Asset Management. It’s a real shame to see what should be a simple process become difficult.

The thing to keep in mind if you are going through a situation like this is that it is your money. You are entitled to that money, and you will get it eventually. Sometimes a little persistence and perseverance is needed, especially if you are doing this on your own. We’ve actually found that a conference call that includes us, the client, and the broker or advisor who has the old retirement plan tends to clear things up. It’s not fun to be antagonistic or confrontational, but sometimes that is what gets the job done.

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About Thomas Mullooly

Thomas Mullooly is owner and founder of Mullooly Asset Management, Inc.

An investment industry veteran of over thirty years, Tom started his career in 1983 at EF Hutton. During his time as a retail stockbroker, Tom also became a manager. By listening closely to clients and his peers, Tom found first-hand how many individual investors – along with their brokers -- had no game plan for managing the risk in their investments. With that in mind, in 2002 Tom opened Mullooly Asset Management, a fee-only investment advisory firm.

As an investment advisor, and not a broker, Tom works strictly for his clients. With the help of point and figure charting, Tom builds a realistic game plan for clients. No pie-in-the-sky forecasts or predictions of the future. A simple game plan to manage what to do if something goes wrong, and what to do when things go right. All of Tom’s financial planning sessions with clients start with a conversation and a simple yellow pad.

Tom hails from Long Island and is a proud graduate of Chaminade High School. Tom achieved his BS at CW Post in 1983 (in three years), and received his MBA from CW Post in 1987.

Outside the office, Tom has served as President of North Wall Little League, and served on the New Jersey District 11 Little League board. Tom is a board member of Family Options, an Adoption agency in Monmouth County. Tom is a daily communicant at St. Rose Church in Belmar and also serves as Sacristan, Lector and Eucharistic Minister and serves on the St. Rose Finance Committee.