Author Topic: Any reason NOT to consolidate my 403b contracts (US Citizen, Canadian PR)  (Read 495 times)

FLBiker

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Hello. I am a US citizen who moved to Canada as a permanent resident last summer. I have an old 403b at TIAA and my current plan is to leave it there as they have been friendly to me having a Canadian mailing address. I'm 45, and I don't anticipate drawing from it before I'm 59.5.

This 403b is split between three contracts, each of which have slightly different investment options. Fortunately for me, the one that allows rollovers in is also the one that has the best investment options (namely institutional versions of the three Vanguard funds I primarily use: VITSX, VBTIX, VTSNX). Is there any reason NOT to consolidate all of my holdings into one contract?

My hesitation is mostly around the uncertainty of having to move it some day. Let's say, for example, that TIAA becomes not-Canadian-friendly and I want to roll it into an RRSP (roughly the Canadian equivalent of a traditional IRA). I could see wanting to do in chunks, over a couple of years, rather than all at once. If I consolidate the contracts into one, would I have to do this theoretical 403b to RRSP conversion all at once? My thinking is no -- that even if the contracts were combined, I could convert parts of the 403b at a time. And, if not, I think I could spin parts of the 403b off to separate TIRAs and then roll those over time to an RRSP. Can anyone confirm this?

I'm not talking about a huge savings here -- the "high" expense ratio offerings in my worst contract are in the .2 range vs more like .04 for the Vanguard institutional class funds. It's a combination of fees and simplicity that are nudging me towards consolidation, but I don't want to create any potential future headaches for myself.

Again, the root of my question is whether or not there is any reason NOT to combine these contracts. Thank you very much for your thoughts on this, and please let me know if you have any questions. Also, if it makes a difference, here are the amounts:

Contract 1 (Institutional Vanguard, the potential destination): $58,500
Contract 2 (Admiral Vanguard): $31,500
Contract 3 (the "high" expense one): $175,750

Xlar

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I don't know of any reason NOT to combine them all together.

FLBiker

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I don't know of any reason NOT to combine them all together.

Excellent, thanks!

cool7hand

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You can rollover a 403b into an IRA if you need another option.

FLBiker

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You can rollover a 403b into an IRA if you need another option.

And, if I'm not mistaken, I could roll just part of it over if I wanted to break it up again (for any reason).  Right?

cool7hand

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I've never looked it up with a 403b, but I know a partial 401k rollover is allowed.

FLBiker

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I've never looked it up with a 403b, but I know a partial 401k rollover is allowed.

Excellent, thanks!

terran

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You can rollover a 403b into an IRA if you need another option.

And, if I'm not mistaken, I could roll just part of it over if I wanted to break it up again (for any reason).  Right?

There are no laws against it, but your withdrawal options for any particular plan is entirely up to the policies of the plan custodian.

FLBiker

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You can rollover a 403b into an IRA if you need another option.

And, if I'm not mistaken, I could roll just part of it over if I wanted to break it up again (for any reason).  Right?

There are no laws against it, but your withdrawal options for any particular plan is entirely up to the policies of the plan custodian.

OK, good to know.  I'll check with them (TIAA) before I consolidate the contracts.  Thanks!

PeteD01

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Re: Any reason NOT to consolidate my 403b contracts (US Citizen, Canadian PR)
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2021, 02:00:12 PM »
You can rollover a 403b into an IRA if you need another option.

And, if I'm not mistaken, I could roll just part of it over if I wanted to break it up again (for any reason).  Right?

There are no laws against it, but your withdrawal options for any particular plan is entirely up to the policies of the plan custodian.

OK, good to know.  I'll check with them (TIAA) before I consolidate the contracts.  Thanks!

There are two potential reasons why you might not want to consolidate into one contract:

1) TIAA Real Estate Account (TREA, QREARX)- it functions like a private equity real estate investment with a liquidity guarantee. It is not available in all contracts

2) TIAA Traditional - it is a kind stable value fund that has many flavors with some having very attractive interest rates, and some are even fully liquid with good rates at the same time.

I ended up consolidating four or five contracts into two because the best flavor of TIAA Trad and TREAA were not available in the same contract.
Talk to a TIAA advisor and ask them specifically about these issues.