E*Trade is offering up to $600 in bonus cash on new IRA accounts
When you leave a job where you had a 401(k), you have two basic options:
1. You can do absolutely nothing and watch your nest egg get eaten alive by high fees and poor service that often accompanies 401(k) plans; or
2. If you want to take control of your financial future, you can rollover your 401(k) to an IRA.
According to an Investment Company Institute study (pdf), there was $3.5 trillion in IRAs and $5.1 trillion in 401(k) plans at the end of the second quarter of 2012. Many of these plans are charging high (and hidden) fees, inadequate resources and poor customer service. The 401(k) providers get away with this because workers rarely move their retirement assets prior to retiring or leaving their job.
Although many investors think their 401(k) plan is free, the average cost is about 1%. According to the Retirement Savings Drain: Hidden & Excessive Costs of 401(k)s, the average couple could lose $155,000 in their retirement savings to fees. The 401(k) fee is in addition to the underlying expenses of the mutual funds. So if you’re paying 1.5% in fees for fund XYZ and 1% to your 401(k) provider, you need to earn 2.5% just to break even.
If you want to know how much your 401(k) costs, you should check out Personal Capital. It’s a free online money and and investment manager. Link your investment accounts and it tracks your portfolio. And it has a nifty tool to estimate the cost of most 401(k) plans. I use it everyday.
And that brings me to E*Trade. E*Trade is expanding its client base beyond active traders by appealing to a much larger market – those investors saving for retirement. If you do plan to rollover your 401(k) to an IRA, E*Trade is offering the following cash bonuses for new accounts:
- $600 if your balance is above $250,000
- $300 if your balance is between $100,000 and $249,000
- $100 if your balance is below $100,000
The benefits of switching to E*Trade include:
- No annual account fees, no minimums
- Real-time, 24/7 view of account performance
- Thousands of mutual fund, stock, and ETF choices
- Complimentary help from Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorsSM3 and free online tools
- 24/7 customer service
In order to complete the rollover, follow E*Trade’s helpful rollover checklist below:
Second, contact Your Former Plan Administrator. Ask for a direct rollover of your plan assets. Follow the below steps:
- Complete all distribution forms required by your former employer.
- Instruct the plan administrator to issue a distribution check made payable to: E*TRADE Clearing, FBO
. Your Rollover IRA account number should be included on the check.
- Instruct the plan administrator to mail the check to E*TRADE Securities LLC, PO Box 484, Jersey City, NJ 07303-0484
- If your plan administrator sends you the check, simply forward it along with an IRA Deposit Slip to E*TRADE at the address above.
You can’t control much in life and especially in investing. You can, however, control who you decide to pay, how much and how they treat you. Remember, if you don’t take control of your financial future, someone else will. And if you want to open an IRA, but not with E*Trade, check out our complete list of the best brokers for IRA accounts.
Published or updated January 31, 2013.