BOSTON (CBS) – I often hear from listeners who are about to retire and they realize they fall into the category of having too many retirement plans. Not too much money, just too many plans.

Take inventory. What have you got and what is it invested in? List everything.

Let’s deal with the IRAs first. Try to consolidate them. Every time you heard about a new hot mutual fund you put some money in. Well now you have seven IRA accounts.

Find a couple of all-weather mutual funds such as a S&P 500 Index fund, a short duration conservative bond fund, maybe a small cap fund, a money market fund, and transfer everything into them. Easy to do and you may be able to download all of the paper work from the fund’s website.

If you really love your different mutual funds you may be able to move them in kind. Fidelity often will allow you to transfer the funds in the old IRA to a new Fidelity IRA.

And when it comes time to begin mandatory withdrawals at age 70½ you will be very happy dealing with just one company and one account.

I would recommend moving most employer retirement plans into an IRA. You will have many more investment choices and ease of withdrawing money in retirement. Especially after you have retired.

Be careful with your 403(b) plans though. Some are set up as annuities and you may not be able to transfer all of the money into an IRA without paying a penalty.

457 plans require a bit more planning as well in that you can access the money before you are age 59½ if you leave your current job. But if you roll the 457 into an IRA it then takes on the rules of the IRA and you cannot access the money until age 59½ without a penalty.

Money Conference Alert!!

On October 11th I will be the key note speaker at The Money Conference which is a FREE one-day event presented by The Office of Massachusetts State Treasury. It will be held at UMASS Boston and the first 500 registrants will get a free copy of my newest book, Money, Your Personal Finance Guide.

There will be afternoon classes on everything from budgeting to buying a house. The Financial Planning Association of Boston will have volunteer financial planners there to help answer questions. You can set up a meeting with a Money Mentor when you register. If you have questions about the conference, contact Sheila O’Loughlin of the State Treasury at (617) 367-6900 ext 615.

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