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...when you leave that job the money cannot be transferred to an IRA. It will be paid to you and fully taxed at ordinary income tax rates at that time.

Um, I don't know about this. When I left my last government job, I had the option of taking my deferred comp out, or leaving it be in the account until I retired. I chose to leave it be, and was then able to roll it over, IRA-style, into the deferred comp program under my new gov. job.

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