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Feb 13 2009 12:00AM

Question

My wife passed away recently and she had a 403(b) and a traditional IRA. I would like to know where I can safely roll these accounts over conservatively. Also, I have money in a credit union savings account. I would like to put some money I have in some kind of a retirement account.

Answer

According to FPA member Robert G. Stentz, CFP®, of Legacy Group of Louisiana, any advice without knowing your age, income and overall financial situation would be simply a "shot in the dark." 

"Most of my answers to your questions would be based on your age and your desired uses for the various accounts. If I assume that you are retired, over age 65 and you need the money for retirement then one potential solution might be one of the various income-producing annuities such as a variable annuity or an indexed annuity. Both the IRA and the 403(b) funds could be rolled into either of these products and you would be guaranteed an income for life. This is the most conservative approach which would give you some level of guarantees against loss of your principal.

If you do not need the money for income then a fixed annuity with either indexing or fixed rate might be the best solution.  Depending on your particular tax scenario you might also investigate tax-free municipal bonds and taxable bond mutual funds.

Dealing with the questions individually:

  1. The 403(b) can be rolled over into an IRA.
  2. The IRA is convertible to a "spousal IRA." 
  3. Your non-qualified credit union money should probably remain where it is if you are ultra– conservative. Credit union rates are as close as anything to certificate of deposit rates currently."

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