Fill in the blank - and you got it. With all the regards to those economic pundits that push push push the 401K's... well I have news for you all they are a pain in the...
Case in point.
I received a large envelope in December with a letter and a lot of other stuff in regards to my 401K plan at my former job. Okay the letter in all it gobbledy-gook basically said - since you have less than $1000 in the 401K plan with us - the Company doesn't want to mess with the puny amount of money you were able to save in a 12 months - so you have to either find a roll over or get your distribution that will be taxed.
Simply enough to fix - OR SO I THOUGHT - just call the 877 number on the letter and talk to one of the friendly plan "special"ists.
First mistake -not having the pin number which I was able to utilize at work to look at or change my contributions to my plan. But that number was obliterated the moment I clocked out on my last day. Okay - yeah - I should have written it down but the only place I could ever access this option was at work. And in the chaos of moving - my pin is in purgatory.
Well, they could send a new pin number to me but they would have to verify my address. I gave them my address. What you say... that is NOT my address. Funny thing - oh yes it is. I have moved I told the first "special"ist and I am giving you my address. What you say... it is not the correct address - silly me - thinking records would be updated when I submitted my address change to my former employer.... Oh no ma'am you had to update the address with us - we may be have the same corporate name but you have to call us directly. SERIOUSLY.
Next - I get to wait for a pin number in January. It arrives after being forwarded from my OLD address- oh happy day. I get to call the special 877 number and punch in the numbers. I do as the prompts direct. But I can't talk to anyone because all I get when I follow the prompts is my account balance. NOT WHAT I WANTED.
Silly me I try again but don't enter the pin number. AHA. .... a real live person. Do you have your pin. (I am thinking where I would like to pin that pin to...) But I said yes, well ma'am you are going to have to re-enter your pin when you call back. Excuse me all I want is MY MONEY SO I CAN INVEST IT SOMEWHERE ELSE SINCE YOU PEOPLE DON'T WANT MY BUSINESS. Well, ma'am you can't have your money to rollover unless you enter you pin and call back. So... I muster up all the extra nice I can because I really want to strangle someone at this point. I call back only to be told I could not have a rollover distribution without having a place to roll it over to. So... trying to contain the volcanic eruption of rather testy words that were boiling out of my gut... I simply ask why it is any of their business where I put this money since they didn't want to be bothered with it in the first place. Yes, I did say that. The "special"ist that I talk to this time, says it is because without a rollover institution the company would have to tax my distribution. Silly me again - I ask since when is MY tax responsibility their business. Again I am told it is "Policy". I am picturing the 'special'ist sitting at a screen with it saying - If you are asked a question and you don't know the answer just say "it's policy".
Again, I could do nothing at this point so I had another 60 days to do something or they would tax my distribution. I could not open a rollover without the distribution but I could not get the distribution to roll over without having a rollover account. At this point, I was thinking even a good stiff adult beverage of the whiskey variety would not wash away the confusion headache I was suffering. Plus no one was able to explain to me, why I could not have my money to rollover to the place of my choosing since my tax liability is my responsibility. I just wanted to rollover to save the $60 they were going to tax me for the $350ish in my account. That is what I was told.
Finally, after talking to my own banker and explaining the situation, there is an account to rollover to when the check comes. Again, I was able to call the company and push the stinking prompts and talk to yet ANOTHER 'special'ist and get a complete distribution to be put into an IRA.
Simply put ... I went through phone hell to get MY OWN STINKING MONEY to invest where I wanted to. No wonder our country is in such a state. We complicate things that are not complicated. We can't keep our choices to ourselves and my tax responsibility is being hovered over - EXCEPT when I have to pay that tax bill.
Hmmmm. I think I need a beverage!!