How to Fix Your 401k Before You Start Retirement

Though you can’t tell this season by the displays in the store aisles, its retirement season; a time of year when some employees begin looking forward to the new year without an alarm clock. But is your 401k or 403b plan as ready as your are for retirement?  Is the account ready for the next phase?  Here are four strategies to consider as you prepare your portfolio for retirement.                    

It’s Only Day One of Retirement  Pre-retirees often feel the need to get ultra-conservative with their investments as retirement day grows near. Yes, protecting your nest-egg is important, but retirement can last 20 or 30 years, or more. So, it’s important to maintain an appropriate inflation fighting mix of stocks and bonds.                                     

Don’t ditch the company stock   If you’ve ignored my advice and find yourself overflowing with company stock, now might not be the time to sell. There are some magical tax strategies for handling the distribution of that stock — strategies which can minimize the taxes you’ll pay. Before you do something irreversible, talk with a CFP or a CPA about the options.                                    

Keep those contributions flowing  Most folks understand that Social Security benefits are based upon earned income, but some mistakenly believe that discontinuing pre-tax contributions to a 401k or 403b plan will make their earnings look bigger. While such contributions are before Federal and State taxes, they are still counted for Social Security taxes.  Discontinuing contributions may also mean missing out on company matching contributions, and you don’t want to miss that kind of going away present.                  

Slow the Roll      Rollovers are often the only option retirees think about (especially if a commission hungry broker has you in his or her sights). I recently recommended that a client rollover only a portion of his retirement plan in order to make use of a plan based investment option unavailable through an IRA.      Robo-advisors may make retirement seem as easy a computer generated portfolio, but there are key steps and conversations to have before teeing up the first golf ball or enjoying that long awaited cruise. Be intentional as you prepare your 401k or 403b plan for retirement. Take time to talk to friends who retired recently. Ask what they did right and what they might change. And, lastly, be sure to seek professional advice from a fee-only advisor focused solely on your retirement success.


OSBORN Wealth Management is a fee only advisory firm dedicated to providing conservative asset management, experienced retirement planning and unbiased financial advice. Blog posts are intended for informational and educational purposes, only, and are not an offer to sell. As individual's circumstances are always unique, please consult a professional before embarking on any changes to your investment, planning, tax or legal situation. For questions on this Blog post, or general inquiries about our professional advisory services, please give us a call at 219-362-8567 or email me at

SYNERGOS Financial Services d/b/a OSBORN Wealth Management is a Registered Investment Advisor currently registered in the states of Indiana and Michigan. The firm provides fee-only portfolio management and advisory services, and is not associated with any banks or broker-dealers. For more information, please view our current ADV filing.

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