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LIMRA Retirement Research

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Industry Issues

For decades, Americans have saved in workplace and individual retirement accounts on a tax-deferred basis. Workers gain access to their retirement savings when they change jobs or retire. In almost all cases, workers can cash out their balances immediately, or wait until they have reached retirement to cash out whatever amounts they have accumulated in these plans. These cash-outs are subject to income taxation. But for many individuals before retirement – or even those who have retired – it makes sense to move their assets from one type of retirement account to another rather than cash out the money. This tax-qualified “money in motion” (MIM) represents an enormous amount of financial activity within the retirement market and thus a critically important opportunity for the retirement industry.

Key Findings

  • Participants’ top reasons for rolling to an IRA are: to gain control of their money, to seek better investment returns, and to consolidate assets.
  • Only 1 in 5 participants consider rolling their balances to companies other than the one they selected.
  • Unlike rollover transactions, more roll-in participants discuss their decisions with their employers than with advisors, DC plan provider call centers, or others.
  • Although the most common method of transferring from one IRA to another is by means of a self-directed online transaction, this method is strongly associated with younger owners; older owners typically have an advisor handle the transaction.

Related Resources

Related Research

DConversations - Automatic Portability: A New Approach to Addressing Retirement Plan 'Leakage'

Nov 29, 2016

DConversations - Automatic Portability: A New Approach to Addressing Retirement Plan 'Leakage'

The Fiduciary Rule: Call Centers and Asset Retention DC Plan Providers’ Perspectives (2016, DOL Viewpoints)

Jul 11, 2016

How will companies adapt their call centers and asset retention programs to comply with the DOL rule?

The IRA Market: Scoping and Potential (2015)

Oct 5, 2015

What’s in store for the contributory and rollover IRA markets?

The Retirement Saving Decision in Context (Research Briefing 2015)

Feb 12, 2015

Is retirement saving being crowded out by other saving and spending needs?

Employer Perspectives on Plan Distribution Options

Aug 7, 2014

Find out how employers describe plan distribution options available to retiring employees, whether they make specific recommendations, and what they would prefer retirees do with their plan balances.

Asset Retention: Keys to Success in the Rollover Market – 2012 Results (2013)

Feb 28, 2013

Are consolidation, control, and convenience still driving rollover decisions? View our most recent findings to discover successful asset retention strategies.


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