Q: My wife has taught in public schools for 30 years and participated in a 403(b) plan the entire time. Now she's thinking about opting for early retirement. Does she need to wait until she retires to roll over that money into an IRA? C.T., Sacramento, Calif.
A: Yes, she has to wait. While you're allowed to transfer funds tax-free from one 403(b) plan (also called a tax-sheltered annuity plan) to another, you can't roll over a lump-sum distribution from a 403(b) plan to an IRA now. But that's not the end: Your wife can roll over a lump-sum distribution from her 403(b) plan to an IRA in the year she retires or a subsequent year.