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Financial Planning / Foolish 401(k)s


Subject:  Re: 401K rollover while still employed Date:  3/20/2003  6:32 PM
Author:  mjolah Number:  16009 of 26356

The simple answer is probably not. Under the Internal Revenue Code (specifically Code section 401(k)(10)) assets in a 401(k) plan can only be distributable upon a "distributable event," which means either upon separation of service (termination, death, etc.), certain sales of a subsidiary or assets of a subsdiary (that is, you are changing employers), financial hardship, or attainment of certain age not less than age 59-1/2 - - BUT ONLY pursuant to the terms of the plan (which need not allow distributions under these scenarios - and YES, a plan can even prevent you from taking a distribution on termination of employment if you haven't attained retirement age (and this is rare these days, but it is still possible)).

Plan sponsors have a fiduciary duty to prudently select investment funds that are appopriate for all of the participants. This does not mean that they must include what every partcipant wants, but what would allow a participant to achieve a portfolio with risk and return characteristics that are appropriate for each participant. They need not always be the "bewst funds" - heaven knows if we could always do that, none of us would be working - but they must be prudent in their selection. Ask to see the Investment Policy Statement that they use to govern the selection process (ERISA requires one) and if they don't have one, remind them of this fiduciary obligation....

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