Those who are really serious about preparing for retirement will want to look at all the investment vehicles at their disposal for this purpose. The 401k is an investment product set up through an employer that allows employees of the company to put money aside in a tax-deferred investment plan. The individual retirement account (IRA), in contrast, is an investment vehicle used by the individual to save for retirement through a variety of accounts and investments.
For many, making the most of a 401k might as well be an Olympic sport. With the selections ranging from company to company and provider to provider, the options for a solid retirement strategy can be both limited and varied – and occasionally both!
When it comes to accessing money quickly, there are often only a few sources: your personal bank account, maybe a rainy day fund, or perhaps the place where most have accumulated the most of their assets: your retirement account.
Following the worst recession and financial crisis since the Great Depression, there has been a groundswell of interest for funds that are not only less risky, but also protected against loss by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
There are many reasons why you might want to consider a 401k to IRA rollover for your retirement nest egg. In some cases, 401k plans might offer under-performing funds, and you could do better by opening your own account where you have more control over your risk and return. You may also be forced into a 401k to IRA rollover if you lose your job or change jobs and need to find another vehicle for your retirement account.
There isn’t a single decision you will make that rivals the importance of financial planning. Unlike what you eat for breakfast, or what model your next car will be, the decisions you make for retirement follow you for the rest of your life.
The 401k was born of a small section of the IRS code (section 401k), but it was actually a banker, not the IRS, that created the concept of the program. Using the technicalities of the code, one bank president set off a revolution in modern retirement saving dating back to 1980.

401k matching plans have a relatively short history, but that doesn’t mean it has a low adoption rate. In fact, Americans have open nearly 70 million 401k accounts, even though the product was invented as recently as 1980.

Financial planners have always stressed the importance of diversification among asset classes, but how many are preaching tax diversification? With taxation becoming the issue of the hour from the halls of Capitol Hill to Main Street America, tax diversification may be as important as asset allocation.
Tim Ord
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