Publix ESOP/401k Retirement Guide
Updated: Nov 8
John Lawrence is a financial advisor and founder of J.A. Lawrence Wealth Management.
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STEP 1: Notify the Publix Retirement Department 30-45 days prior to your last day of desired employment. The Publix retirement department will mail you distribution forms.
STEP 2: The distribution forms will have three choices to select.
Choice 1: DEFER is the first choice a separating employee can select. This is an available option until that employee turns 62. Upon turning 62 the employee will have to make a choice we'll cover in choices two and three.
Choice 2: Elect to do a lump sum distribution from the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) to a non retirement account. This option can be quite complex in regards to tax advantages and disadvantages. If you are considering this option you must thoroughly read and understand the article I wrote concerning lump sum NUA distribution rules.
Choice 3: Roll the company stock in the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) into an IRA. Due to the private company status of Publix- the stock can't be sent to just any institution to be held. Publix also isn't allowed to suggest any institutions to send the private stock due to legal ramifications. However, Charles Schwab, is a custodian that can hold the private Publix stock.
It is very important that a retiree understands the implications of this a IRA rollover vs. the lump sum distribution choice listed above. A full retirement analysis needs to be done by a professional to weigh the options against each other. It is important to understand how a retiree will also use their assets in their Publix 401k. It's important to understand how the entire puzzle needs to fit together.
STEP 3: After deciding which of the three best options is best for you (possibly its a blended approach) then you need to mail the distribution package back to Publix Retirement at
Publix Super Markets, Inc.
P.O. Box 32040
Lakeland, Florida 33802-2040
Publix retirement department states that it will take approximately two weeks for them to process the application.
STEP 4: Understand the exact date you are looking to retire. Employees must coordinate their schedules with the distribution schedule of Publix. See schedule here.
Non-Publix stock 401k distributions aren't not related to the Publix stock schedule with the ESOP.
Distributions are typically made two weeks after your separation of service date. Distributions are processed and mailed each Friday during distribution periods. Employees can also pick up their distribution the following Monday after 1 p.m.
If you have any questions regarding an Employee Stock Ownership Plan from Publix please feel free to reach out to me here.
WHAT COMPONENTS SHOULD THE PERFECT FINANCIAL PLAN LOOK LIKE FOR PUBLIX EMPLOYEES.
The perfect financial plan involves an understanding of your taxes and expenses. Understanding your expenses will guide you on how much cash you need to run your household. Higher expenses can sometimes means higher taxes due to the higher distributions. Possibly we can use the NUA tax rule to help pay off existing debt to bring down expenses in retirement.
When in retirement some of your income should be as guaranteed as possible. Wouldn't a pension be nice? An annuity is a great supplement of guaranteed income for the rest of your life. A retiree can "pensionize" some of their publix 401k stocks. This may then make sense to keep more publix stock.
Always receive expert social security advance before making a decision. Once a choice is made one can never go back.
Publix 401K Smart plan. The Publix 401k may need to be liquidated in some instances. Do you want that account to continue being passively managed or actively managed?
It is important that a financial picture has all of the pieces: Publix stock, fixed income, social security planning, and intelligent 401K planning.