Welcome to Your Post-Election Job Layoff! Sigh.

I’m sorry if you’re reading this because you were just laid off from your job.  America is changing rapidly, and you got caught in the crossfire.

I don’t have much advice for you about your next job hunt, etc., but I do want to give you a fact or two about your retirement account at your former company.

If you had a 401(k) account, or another rollover-eligible account, here’s what you do:  you need to set up an IRA account somewhere.  Please, do not pick an insurance company.  Pick a bank, discount broker, full-service broker, or mutual fund company.

The financial company will have you fill out forms to transfer your retirement account money into the new IRA.  It will take several weeks for the money to arrive.  Generally speaking, when the money arrives, it begins earning interest in a money market fund within your IRA, and you can take your time with the subsequent investment decisions.  One key exception is for people who are transferring this money into a mutual fund company’s IRA.  Those folks usually pick their investments ahead of time, and the moment the money arrives, it becomes fully invested.

Your financial advisor at your full-service brokerage firm should be able to answer all of your questions about partial withdrawals, Roth IRAs, taxes, assigning beneficiaries, and the complete scope of investment choices.  Personally, I would NEVER take this kind of advice from anyone who worked at a bank, mutual fund company, or discount broker.  Remember, you get what you pay for.  When I was “in the business”, people who couldn’t cut it at full-service brokerage firms went to work at those lesser-places.  Be careful.

All investments have fees; some are hidden.  So ask about the fees.  For example, if you give your money to the bank, and you’re earning 2% interest, how do they make their money?  They loan the money to other customers at a higher interest rate while they pay you the lower interest rate.

Best of luck to you, and happy investing!

Crista Huff

Goodfellow LLC

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