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Greetings, Head1st, and welcome. You asked:

My question: If I take the cash account and leave the company within the next 2 or 3 years. Would it be more benificial to be able to leave the money in the traditional or take the money with me and try to grow it in an IRA?

That depends entirely on you and how you invest the money as well as for how long it remains invested. No one here can answer that question, only you can. If you're asking is it possible for you to "grow" the money so it gives you more than the annuity would, the answer is yes, it's possible. It's also possible to lose it all and end up with nothing.

You have a lot of years credited in the traditional pension plan. The cash balance plan typically will give you less as a long-term, older employee. In your case, I suggest you see a fee-only Certified Financial Planner skilled in retirement planning who can run some scenarios for you to project what would happen to you under various scenarios. An analysis of your specific situation is the only real way to get a satisfactory answer to your question.

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