Author Topic: should I roll 403b into my IRA and other general advice?  (Read 1140 times)

FLA

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should I roll 403b into my IRA and other general advice?
« on: November 03, 2015, 02:22:16 PM »
I left my job July 1 due to protracted illness. I am approximately 14 mos from when I should get an SSDI hearing.  I have a crappy long term disability policy from work that people either never get or only get for a few short months.  I get $2900 pre-tax/month but when/if I get SSDI I will have to give them my SSDI settlement, they want the monthly ~$1800 amount of SSDI money back.  So I get $1100 pre-tax from them since July 1. They just requested 7k of re-testing to make sure I am still eligible.  According to my SSDI lawyer and my BFF who is an employment lawyer, this is a huge red flag that they are preparing to drop me if they are willing to spend that kind of money.  Technically, if disabled, the policy is supposed to pay that $1100 a month until I reach age 65.  I am lucky to have people familiar with this policy to prepare me to not count on it for even a few more months.

So let's assume that ends.  I will be income-less for at least the 14 mos I have left to wait. My SSDI lawyer in 22 yrs, has never lost a case with my particular MD because he documents so well and she said she in all honesty, with all that is going on, she is certain I will qualify. So I'm going to assume this is true because I will go nuts if I cannot get that and will have no income for life.

Here is my question: I have 4 Vanguard Index funds in my 403b, invested 90% stock/10% bonds and that has worked well for me for the last 23 yrs. I have the exact same set ups in my Roth IRA and a traditional IRA.  I'm not looking to change funds of change my allocations right now. Down the road, sure, for now it's too much and I feel comfortable with my set up. I talked to a financial planner at Vanguard and the one at work (who had both one yr prior to this nightmare, shocked me and said I was on track to retire at 55!) when I got sick.  I don't recall the numbers because I was sort of panicked at the thought of not working ever again at 45, however, I know they said I could take x amount of dollars out of each retirement vehicle monthly and never touch principle. I also have a defined benefit pension worth 30k that I can also draw from monthly and not lose principle there either.

Anticipating I will lose LTD any day now, I'm hoping for some help. The panic is back, the thought of touching retirement accounts before my 60s, makes me cry, lol. So obviously I need to find out what I can take out per month again, first, right? And I should take the least amt possible, not the full amt that lets me keep my principle.

But I really do not want my money in the 403B, paying fees twice. I want to transfer it to my IRA at Vanguard. I thought I read this is a no brainer, there's no cost or penalty as long as you don't have the money in your hands for so many months or something.  But I just read it does cost money to do this, you have to sell your shares and it's not always a good move.  I don't understand why it wouldn't be a good idea and why it costs so much.  Normally, I research and figure this stuff just fine but did I mention PANIC, lol.  Plus, the illness has cognitive issues, particularly memory and comprehension. So I don't think it's wise to delve into this on my own with no input from knowledgeable people.

I have no debt, mortgage or car payment. I share a paid for home with my folks as my mom is terminal and I was a hospice nurse. The plan was for me to sell my soon to be too big townhouse (DD 16, DS already launched), folks sell theirs and we buy a handicapped accessible home, DD and I would be at one end, folks at the other and I would help with my mom's care. Now I'm the one who needs help. It sucks.

 One good thing, they don't have a lot but they will help with food and shelter, home maintenance. I hate that but they are offering and I will keep track and try to pay back. The bad thing is I am looking at very large medical bills as I have some upcoming neuro tests that simply, as of now, my insurer refuses to pay.  But I have reached my OOP max so I'm hopeful somehow I will get these uber-expersive tests before January 1. 

I have an EF of 25k for medical bills. 

Last wrinkle, DD is a very driven high school junior, she works like a dog to do well in school.  For many, many months I was too sick to really take care for her, there was a ton of falling, confusion, etc. it was scary for her.  And then she had my mom slowly dying at the other end of the house. It was emotionally way too much for her and she asked to go to her dad's until I was better.  How could I say no, she is my world and if I want the best for her, well, making her live here is not providing the best. Custody is finally settled, I am broken hearted but we are only a few miles apart. 

The clincher, ex has not asked for child support and actually his lawyer refuses to discuss it with mine, so she thinks it is going to be ugly. The concern is I will be paying based on the $2900, that will really be $1100 because I have to pay so much back. I will likely lose it any month now and all I'll have is my retirement and my EF that is needed for Cobra and medical bills. I am not a deadbeat, had this happened when I was working, I would've paid the NYS percentage and my share of everything else, no problem, it would sting, but it's only fair.  So I am petrified that if I pay the full amount, there will not be enough left for medical bills and if I lose LTD, it takes time for a judge to decide that you really are income-less, that it will not be changing soon.  Supposedly, she can make me use my retirement for support, in which case, my life plan to avoid eating cat food in retirement is blown to bits and IDK what I will do.  And then there is college, and the judge can use my retirement for that.   

The only bright spot is that ex will receive $900 a month in child support once I get SSDI for the months until DS turned 18 and then $450 a month for DD. Lawyer is hoping to get him to accept this. My ex is not nice, I am not counting on this happening.

so WWYD first? how would you try to protect yourself? Even if I just find out if moving everything into the IRA is a good idea, I would appreciate the advice.  My apologies for the length.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: should I roll 403b into my IRA and other general advice?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2015, 04:29:57 PM »
Quote
Anticipating I will lose LTD any day now, I'm hoping for some help. The panic is back, the thought of touching retirement accounts before my 60s, makes me cry, lol. So obviously I need to find out what I can take out per month again, first, right? And I should take the least amt possible, not the full amt that lets me keep my principle.

But I really do not want my money in the 403B, paying fees twice. I want to transfer it to my IRA at Vanguard. I thought I read this is a no brainer, there's no cost or penalty as long as you don't have the money in your hands for so many months or something. 

Hi FLA: 

First, be calm - Breathe.  If you're in a PANIC, you're more likely to make poor financial decisions for yourself.

From your description, it sounds like you have your retirement savings "house" in order.  So BREATHE, and don't sweat the "what ifs".  As for the 403b rollover to your IRA, *CALL* your 403b plan administrator and ask them what's involved to "ROLLOVER" your account into a traditional rollover IRA.  If you like Vanguard, *CALL* them FIRST, and ask them to walk you through the process.  You *may* end up selling all shares in the 403b, and having a check issued.  You'll send that check to your IRA custodian (i.e. Vanguard), and deposit it into your IRA.  But there's also a chance you can rollover the investments intact (without having to sell & pay commissions) from the 403b into the IRA - CALL to ask.

The key thing to remember:  a traditional, tax-deferred 403b should be rolled over to a traditional IRA (or else it becomes a taxable event).  All the best.