Too Many Accounts?

October 18, 2017

You’ve probably put a lot of effort into planning for retirement, and you’ve taken advantage of the many different ways to save for it.

When we’ve talked with investors about retirement, we found that they often had 401(k)s, contributory IRAs, rollover IRAs, Roth IRAs, inherited IRAs as well as assorted taxable accounts that they planned to use for retirement. That’s a lot to keep track of.

Most saw this as a minor inconvenience, but it can be a real challenge.

When clients hire us to manage their money, one of the first things we do, when it is in the client’s best interest, is look for ways to consolidate their accounts or at least move their accounts to one broker.

Here are four advantages of having fewer accounts:

1. Easier to manage your investments

When it’s easier to manage your money, you’re more likely to do it. You’ll readily see how your accounts are allocated, and if there are any changes to be made it will be simpler to take action.

2. Save money on trading costs

Fewer accounts could save you money. It could be cheaper to change your portfolios since you won’t have to pay multiple fees to purchase the same fund across accounts.

3. Less paperwork could help you avoid mistakes

With fewer accounts, you also have less paperwork to deal with, and this can help you avoid some big mistakes. We spoke with a young widow who discovered that her spouse had forgotten to make her the beneficiary on one of his larger accounts. This not only left her without the income she needed but also with a legal problem to address.

If you move and don’t change your address on every account, you could even risk losing track of it and potentially having it handed over to the state.

4. Creates a back-up plan for your investments

By consolidating some of your accounts, you’re also making it easier for someone else to step in to manage your finances if anything happens to you. This can be a true gift to your loved ones.

One retiree told us that when her husband died unexpectedly, she spent months trying to figure out how many accounts he had and how to access them. And even once things were accounted for, the different paperwork at each broker was certainly a hassle.

Consolidating Your Accounts is Easier Than You May Think

It’s worth taking some time now to consider if you really need all of your existing accounts. If you’re no longer contributing to your IRAs, you can probably consolidate most of them, and it’s often more straightforward than you’d think.

You can usually bring your documents to a brokerage firm, and they’ll do the paperwork for you. If you hire us to manage your accounts, our client service staff will take care of this for you.

Getting your accounts organized and simplified is just one way you can plan for a secure, comfortable retirement.

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