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Should I Convert My 403(b) to an IRA?

Question: I’m a just-retired teacher with a 403(b) account with Fidelity. I recently met with one of their retirement specialists who advised converting my 403(b) to a rollover IRA, saying it would provide me with more flexibility (to move investments) and make it easier to make mandatory withdrawals (less paperwork). His rationale seemed reasonable to me (no hard sell or pressure) but what do you think?

– Barry Koski, New York, NY

Answer: Looking at the big picture, your adviser was right. Comparatively, IRAs offer more investment options and easier withdrawals than 403(b) accounts do, says Sheryl Garrett, a certified financial planner and founder of The Garrett Planning Network, a group of fee-only advisors. “I’m generally a big fan of rolling it over,” she says. There are other considerations, namely costs. Broader investment options can open the door to higher fees, depending on the investments you pick and whether you choose to move your money to a different broker. Ask your plan administrator for a rundown of fees for your 403(b), then compare those to the costs of the investments you’d like in the IRA.

But if you’ve had your 403(b) for a long time – since before 1987 — there might also be good reason to leave some of your assets there, depending on when you plan to start taking withdrawals and how much you’d be taking out. Most IRA and 403(b) assets hew to IRS rules that require you to begin taking a minimum distribution by the time you turn 70-1/2. (Minimums are based on your balance and your life expectancy; there’s a good calculator here that can help you figure out what yours might be.) But contributions made to a 403(b) before 1987 are subject to different requirements, letting you leave them untouched for up to an extra four and a half years until you turn 75, says Garrett. It might be better to leave the pre-1987 portion of your 403(b) out of your rollover plans if you don’t anticipate needing those required withdrawals at age 70.5, or won’t need ones that are quite so large.

Public safety officers like policemen and firemen (sorry, not teachers) have a bigger reason to stay put. In those and other eligible professions they can take up to $3,000 in distributions tax-free each year to pay for health or long-term care insurance premiums for themselves, a spouse or dependents, Garrett says. “So if you happen to be one of these retired public safety officers, you can pay for your health insurance tax-free,” she says. “That certainly could be one reason someone might keep it.”

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    • Just came across this while looking something else up. Are you sure about leaving the pre-1987 amount in the plan. According to IRS publication any amount distributed other than 70 1/2 RMD is considered to come from the pre-1987 amount first. This would negate preserving the age 75 rmd rule for the pre-1987 amounts.

    • By WebOsPublisher

      Normally I would not be concerned that Totem does not play mp4 files,because I use mplayer,but I like the Nautilus video preview thumbnail icons and totem-video-thumbnailer is used to generate the
      Thread No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder | FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ Community
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      Thread: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      Started 1 year, 10 months ago
      by pwalden
      Normally I would not be concerned that Totem does not play mp4 files, because I use mplayer, but I like the Nautilus video preview thumbnail icons and totem-video-thumbnailer is used to generate the preview thumbnails. I am pretty sure this was working on my F14 installation earlier, but I could be mistaken. It was working on the system before I upgraded it from F12. I used autoten to add all the…
      Top contributing authors:
      Name
      Posts
      pwalden
      8
      user’s latest post:
      No MP4 preview icons Totem…
      Published (2011-02-06 23:05:00)
      This thread is sort of solved in a bad-news-good-news way. Bad News: I did not find out why totem/gstreamer would not acknowledge the mp4/mov/m4v file types even though the gstreamer ffmpeg plugin was installed. Again I had 2 F14 systems that did this and one that was working correctly. The only difference between the two sets was that the one that worked was upgraded from F10 to F12 to F14. The non-working ones were fresh F12 installs…
      Smoking Tux
      2
      user’s latest post:
      No MP4 preview icons Totem…
      Published (2011-02-02 20:34:00)
      Because of some issues in the past with gstreamer, I would try to completely uninstall gstreamer-plugins-bad* and gstreamer-plugins-ugly, after this, install all needed packages again (not a ‘yum reinstall <package>’ !) . In my case this has solved some problems, but it’s only a fast idea..
      bonedome
      2
      user’s latest post:
      No MP4 preview icons Totem…
      Published (2011-02-02 23:04:00)
      Hi try removing just bad free extras and bad nonfree maybe there’s some conflict in there, they’re called bad for a reason
      PabloTwo
      1
      user’s latest post:
      No MP4 preview icons Totem…
      Published (2011-02-03 00:11:00)
      Code: BASH:~/-> rpm -q –provides gstreamer-ffmpeg | grep h264 gstreamer0.10(decoder-video/x-h264) Looks like you forgot to reinstall the very thing you are looking for.
      Related threads on “FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ Community”:
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      DVB-T TV not working in Totem? Gstreamer?
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      Missing gstreamer plugins (mkv, webm, mp4)
      F17: missing decoder???
      F17: missing decoder???
      Related threads on other sites:
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      Totem Rhythmbox Gstreamer : Son et video qui sautent .
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      Whezy totem/minitube no mp4 playback
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      Debian wheezy new install: mp4 problems (now: totem only)
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      How to interface gstreamer api from totem-plugin
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      Add my own gstreamer plugins to totem player or mplayer
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      Convert mp4 from x264enc to rgb 24 bits with gstreamer
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      Does GStreamer have hardware decoder plugin support like directfb?
      Site:
      FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support…
      Forum:
      General Support
      Total authors:
      4 authors
      Total thread posts:
      13 posts
      Thread activity:
      no new posts during last week
      Domain info for:
      fedoraforum.org
      Other posts in this thread:
      1.

      Reply 1: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      Smoking Tux replied 1 year, 10 months ago
      Not sure, maybe you need ‘x264-libs’ ..
      Show more post info
      Size: 39 bytes
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      Reply 1: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder :: General Support :: FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ …"”

      2.

      Reply 2: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      pwalden replied 1 year, 10 months ago
      I have the x264 libs installed Code: # yum list installed ‘*264*’ Loaded plugins: presto, refresh-packagekit Installed Packages h264enc.noarch 1:9.2.4-1.fc14 @rpmfusion-free x264-libs.i686 0.0.0-0.28.20100706gitd058f37.fc14 @rpmfusion-free
      Show more post info
      Size: 838 bytes
      Customize:
      Reply 2: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder :: General Support :: FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ …"”

      3.

      Reply 3: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      Smoking Tux replied 1 year, 10 months ago
      Because of some issues in the past with gstreamer, I would try to completely uninstall gstreamer-plugins-bad* and gstreamer-plugins-ugly, after this, install all needed packages again (not a ‘yum reinstall <package>’ !) . In my case this has solved some problems, but it’s only a fast idea..
      Show more post info
      Size: 297 bytes
      Customize:
      Reply 3: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder :: General Support :: FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ …"”

      4.

      Reply 4: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      bonedome replied 1 year, 10 months ago
      Hello totem plays .mp4 (h264) for me, here’s my list of gstreamer plugins Code: Installed Packages PackageKit-gstreamer-plugin.i686 0.6.11-2.fc14 @updates gstreamer.i686 0.10.31-1.fc14 @updates gstreamer-ffmpeg.i686 0.10.11-1.fc14 @rpmfusion-free gstreamer-plugins-bad.i686 0.10.20-2.fc14 @rpmfusion-free gstreamer-plugins-bad-free.i686 0.10.20-3.fc14.1 @updates gstreamer-plugins-base.i686 0.10.31-…
      Show more post info
      Size: 1,843 bytes
      Customize:
      Reply 4: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder :: General Support :: FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ …"”

      5.

      Reply 5: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      pwalden replied 1 year, 10 months ago
      Actually I had seen that in another post where an erase and install had cured it. As you can see below, it did not work for me Code: # yum erase gstreamer-plugins-bad.i686 gstreamer-plugins-bad-free.i686 gstreamer-plugins-bad-free-extras.i686 gstreamer-plugins-bad-nonfree.i686 gstreamer-plugins-ugly.i686 text removed Removed: gstreamer-plugins-bad.i686 0:0.10.20-2.fc14 gstreamer-plugins-bad-free….
      Show more post info
      Size: 8,550 bytes
      Customize:
      Reply 5: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder :: General Support :: FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ …"”

      6.

      Reply 6: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      bonedome replied 1 year, 10 months ago
      Hi try removing just bad free extras and bad nonfree maybe there’s some conflict in there, they’re called bad for a reason
      Show more post info
      Size: 262 bytes
      Customize:
      Reply 6: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder :: General Support :: FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ …"”

      7.

      Reply 7: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      pwalden replied 1 year, 10 months ago
      Hi Bonedome Your gstreamer list is the same as mine, excepts that I also have gstreamer-plugins-bad-nonfree and gstreamer-plugins-bad-free-extras. I tried removing them, but I still have the same problem. Original gstreamer list below Code: Installed Packages PackageKit-gstreamer-plugin.i686 0.6.11-2.fc14 @updates gstreamer.i686 0.10.31-1.fc14 @updates gstreamer-ffmpeg.i686 0.10.11-1.fc14 @…
      Show more post info
      Size: 1,728 bytes
      Customize:
      Reply 7: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder :: General Support :: FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ …"”

      8.

      Reply 8: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      PabloTwo replied 1 year, 10 months ago
      Code: BASH:~/-> rpm -q –provides gstreamer-ffmpeg | grep h264 gstreamer0.10(decoder-video/x-h264) Looks like you forgot to reinstall the very thing you are looking for.
      Show more post info
      Size: 558 bytes
      Customize:
      Reply 8: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder :: General Support :: FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ …"”

      9.

      Reply 9: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      pwalden replied 1 year, 10 months ago
      Quote: Originally Posted by PabloTwo Code: BASH:~/-> rpm -q –provides gstreamer-ffmpeg | grep h264 gstreamer0.10(decoder-video/x-h264) Looks like you forgot to reinstall the very thing you are looking for. Just tried erase and install of gstreamer-ffmpeg. Still not working. Code: # yum erase gstreamer-ffmpeg Loaded plugins: presto, refresh-packagekit Setting up Remove Process Resolving …
      Show more post info
      Size: 3,132 bytes
      Customize:
      Reply 9: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder :: General Support :: FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ …"”

      10.

      Reply 10: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder
      pwalden replied 1 year, 10 months ago
      Quote: Originally Posted by PabloTwo Code: BASH:~/-> rpm -q –provides gstreamer-ffmpeg | grep h264 gstreamer0.10(decoder-video/x-h264) Looks like you forgot to reinstall the very thing you are looking for. Just tried erase and install of gstreamer-ffmpeg. Still not working. Code: # yum erase gstreamer-ffmpeg Loaded plugins: presto, refresh-packagekit Setting up Remove Process Resolving …
      Show more post info
      Size: 3,185 bytes
      Customize:
      Reply 10: Re: No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder :: General Support :: FedoraForum.org – Fedora Core Support Forum $ …"”

      Thread profile page for “No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder” on fedoraforum.org.
      This report page is a snippet summary view from a single thread “No MP4 preview icons Totem Missing plugin: gstreamer|0.10|totem|H.264 decoder”, located on the Message Board at fedoraforum.org.
      This thread profile page shows the thread statistics for: Total Authors, Total Thread Posts, and Thread Activity
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