How to Identify IRA Rollover Opportunities When Working with Clients

May 7, 2017

Performing an IRA rollover has long been an important strategy in helping to meet retirement objectives. But how do you know if a rollover may be the right strategy for a specific client?

Certainly, rollovers are not appropriate in all situations, so it’s important to ask all the applicable questions before finalizing a rollover decision.

The IRA Rollover Checklist will give you many of the essential questions that should be addressed in assessing if moving a client’s funds from his or her current option to a new IRA makes sense.

Identifying Rollover Opportunities

Barring any circumstances that would not be in the client's best interest, there are several reasons a client might consider a rollover.

Rollovers can help a client:

  • Continue to save for retirement on a tax-advantaged basis (if the client is leaving an employer-sponsored plan and will continue to have earned income).
  • Better manage his or her retirement assets by consolidating several retirement accounts into one.
  • Access a broader selection of investment options than may be available within the current retirement plan.
  • Gain a source of tax-free income in retirement through conversion to a Roth IRA. (Note: Taxes must be paid on the traditional IRA at the time it is converted to a Roth IRA.)
  • Benefit from the option of guaranteed lifetime income, using an annuity, if that is not a feature offered by the client's current plan.
  • Manage required minimum distributions (RMDs) during retirement through the use of a qualified longevity annuity contract (QLAC).
  • Specify how his or her beneficiaries will receive inherited assets through a predetermined beneficiary payout option.

Related Article: DOL Rule and IRA Rollovers (Survey Results)


Key Considerations When Evaluating IRA Rollover Options

While an IRA rollover may be in the best interest of some clients, there may be instances in which leaving the assets in the current plan may be the best option. Below are some questions that you may want to ask as you help your client evaluate whether or not an IRA rollover is in his or her best interest.

  • Do you know what your current fees and expenses are?
  • Will any of your plan benefits be forfeited or suspended?
  • Are you looking for additional benefits that are not currently available to you?
  • Are you satisfied with the investment options currently available to you?

For a more detailed list of questions, including the list above, please refer to the IRA Rollover Checklist.

Please be sure to follow your broker dealer's procedures and guidelines with regards to IRA Rollovers.


If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Retirement Strategies Group at (800)722-2333 or e-mail us at

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Caroline Elrod is a Retirement Strategies Consultant with the Retirement Solutions Division at Pacific Life. She brings several years of industry experience to her role that includes tax planning with insurance products. Caroline enjoys educating financial professionals on creative and practical solutions to business, estate and retirement planning concerns.

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