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A 401(k) (and kin, except a 457) I believe you'll have to roll over into a conventional IRA in order to do early withdrawals.

Actually, if you leave your job during or after the year you turn 55, you can make withdrawals from your 401(k) plan without any penalties. Additionally, you can make 72(t) withdrawals from a 401(k) without rolling it over to an IRA, if you are happy with your 401(k) plan choices.

A 457 (if your employer offers one) is preferable to other 401(k)-like accounts, but the others are acceptable. That is, if you have reasonably good investment choices. If all you are offered is badly managed high-load funds, pass.

This may be true if you don't mind leaving your assets in your employer's plan. However, some 457 plans are not 'qualified' plans and do not allow rollovers to a rollover IRA. Therefore, if you want to move this money in a lump sum, you will have to pay taxes on the entire amount. Also, keep in mind that your (former) employer may change plan administrators, costs, and fees at any time, based upon their whims.

AJ
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