Filbrandt Reports

How to Avoid the “Rollover Trap”

Volume 17, Issue 12

Executive Summary:

In this report, you will learn:

  • Retired professors, or those who are close to retirement, are often approached to roll their retirement account into an IRA.
  • Contrary to common belief, there is no requirement to move  money out of your university retirement account when you retire.
  • Moving your money out of university plans can cost more in fees than leaving them in place.

Avoid These Six Big Retirement-Related Mistakes

Through our decades of providing financial advisory services to university professionals, we’ve identified six big retirement-related mistakes that professors often make. If you make the mistakes while you're employed, you have a safety net of a   salary and the university behind you. If you make the mistakes after you are retired, they can be very costly.

This report reveals what we call the “Rollover Trap.” Reviewing this report will help you avoid negative impacts on your retirement plan.

Rollover is a general term for taking money out of a retirement account. It could be a university retirement account, or it could be any employer’s retirement account. Rolling over your retirement account means putting that money into an IRA. The major benefit -- if it's done properly -- is that the money is transferred from the retirement account to the IRA and there's no current income tax. The secondary benefit is that IRA can be self-directed. In other words, the professor who owns the IRA can use a bank savings account if he's very, very conservative, or could buy shares of Apple stock. Neither of those options are available in a university retirement account.

What's the Trap? 

Many times, faculty members roll money out of their retirement accounts for other people's reasons or purposes, not the one that I just described. When a broker, a banker or an insurance agent finds out that someone is going to retire, he or she will normally knock on that person’s door and suggest a rollover. Why? Because that person wants to move the money from the retirement account (where they can't earn commissions) to an IRA at the bank or at the brokerage firm. They put it into products in which they can earn a commission.

That's not necessarily bad, but it's unnecessary. There's no university we're aware of that forces one to take money out of a retirement account when they retire. The university retirement plan will hold those assets. 

How to Avoid the “Rollover Trap”

What Do You Lose When You Roll Your Retirement Accounts Out of the University?

The university offers your retirement savings protections not available outside the university. For example:

  • The IRS considers a retirement plan as a safe haven from creditors. IRAs, in many cases, are not. For example, if a retiree gets in a car accident, is sued and loses the lawsuit, there is a good chance that an IRA asset could be seized or used to pay the claim. That won't happen if the money is in a retirement account.
  • The university has negotiated low fees with the vendors that they have: TIAA, Fidelity, and others. You want to keep taking advantage of that. Generally speaking, fees will be higher for accounts outside the university environment.
  • When you roll retirement savings outside of the university, you can lose access to some unique products that can have great benefit. A common fund utilized by our clients is TIAA Traditional, which produces a guaranteed principal. Leaving your university plan means you will lose access to institutional funds like TIAA Traditional. 

Plan for Your Future

To ensure you are avoiding this trap, and to identify and review your unique situation as it relates to retirement planning, investment planning, and estate planning, please contact us. Call us at 800-431-9740, or visit our website at to schedule a no-obligation appointment to speak with one of Filbrandt & Company’s retirement planning specialists.

Volume 17, Issue 12

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