When can I get access to the money?

Typically you need to wait until you reach retirement age to start taking money out of a cash-balance plan. However, unlike a traditional pension plan, a cash-balance plan is portable. That means that when you leave a job - whether voluntarily or not - you can take the vested portion of the money and roll it over into an IRA, just as you can with the contents of a 401(k). IRAs allow you to begin withdrawing without penalty at age 59 ½.