Frequently Asked Questions

How to evaluate our firm

  • Why should I hire Smith Anglin to manage my airline 401K?
    • With our expertise in investment management and knowledge of your airline benefits, our active-management approach is anchored in discipline, biased toward risk-mitigating strategies that preserve wealth and generate income.
    • Each airline provides its pilots and crew with several vehicles to save for retirement, and we want you to understand the details of each plan to maximize your benefits. Our team of financial advisors provide guidance to navigate their retirement issues and to set realistic goals to have a comfortable retirement.
    How much should I contribute to my airline 401(k) plan?

    We recommend the maximum amount for matching contributions, but every pilot’s financial situation is unique. Our financial plan called the Pilot Program Analysis takes into account all factors to put you in the best financial position.

    When can I take withdrawals from my 401(k)?
    • The IRS allows withdrawals from retirement accounts starting at age 59 ½, penalty-free. They also require withdrawals starting at age 72. This is called a Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). We will assist you in determining the amount that must be withdrawn to avoid penalty. If you turned age 70 ½ prior to January 1, 2020, your RMDs are based on age 70 ½, not age 72.
    • If you take withdrawals prior to age 59 ½, you are subject to federal income tax, a 10% penalty on the amount withdrawn, and any applicable state income tax.
    What is the Mandatory Pilot Retirement Age? How can this impact my 401k?

    The mandatory retirement age of airline pilots is age 65. When you retire at age 65, your contributions, and those made by your airline, stop. We do a thorough financial analysis that examines your expected income in retirement and projects as best we can what retirement funds you will have in retirement.

    I am nearing 59½, is it recommended to perform an in-service rollover to an IRA or Roth IRA?

    Once you reach the age of 59 ½, you can transfer a portion of your retirement plan assets into a self-directed IRA, known as an in-service rollover (ISR). Here are some advantages:

    • Better control and flexibility of your retirement assets
    • Expanded range of investment choices
    • Reduced costs: you can select investment choices that typically have lower internal costs and fees than those provided in your employer’s retirement plan
    • If you are converting a traditional 401(k) to a Roth IRA, the amount rolled over is subject to taxes at ordinary income rates. Roth IRAs are funded with after-tax dollars.
    • It is recommended to consult a tax advisor before making this decision.
    Should I take early retirement as a pilot or crew member?

    You may be struggling to determine if retiring early is the right decision for you and your family. With our long history of working with airline pilots and crew members, we understand that every situation is unique and that you may want or need professional guidance with this life-changing decision. We will provide you with a detailed, personal financial plan to see how retiring early could impact your financial future by comparing a normal retirement at age 65 with a retirement pursuant to early-out protocols.

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