Its Your Money And Your Choice
When it comes to what to do, there are advantages and disadvantages to all options so theres no one right answer for all. You need to review your options and choose whats best for you and your retirement. Retirement savings is one of the most important and long-lasting investment decisions youll ever make. If youre not sure what to do, you always have the option of talking to an advisor. Whether you need a bit of advice or a comprehensive financial plan, a Certified Financial Planner can help guide you in the right direction.
Ask Your 401 Plan For A Direct Rollover Or Remember The 60
These two words “direct rollover” are important: They mean the 401 plan cuts a check directly to your new IRA account, not to you personally.
Here are the basic instructions:
Contact your former employers plan administrator, complete a few forms, and ask it to send a check or wire for your account balance to your new account provider.
The new account provider gives you instructions for how the check or wire should be made out, what information to include and where it should be sent. You can opt for an indirect 401 rollover instead, which essentially means you withdraw the money and give it to the IRA provider yourself, but that can create tax complexities. We generally recommend a direct rollover.
If you do an indirect rollover, the plan administrator may withhold 20% from your check to pay taxes on your distribution. To get that money back, you must deposit into your IRA the complete account balance including whatever was withheld for taxes within 60 days of the date you received the distribution. .)
For example, say your total 401 account balance was $20,000 and your former employer sends you a check for $16,000 . Assuming youre not planning to go the Roth route, you’d need to come up with $4,000 so that you can deposit the full $20,000 into your IRA.
At tax time, the IRS will see you rolled over the entire retirement account and will refund you the amount that was withheld in taxes.
Benefits Of A Rollover Into A New 401
Distributions at 55: Under an IRS provision known as the Rule of 55, you can withdraw funds from your current companys 401 penalty-free starting at age 55, instead of 59.5 . By combining 401s, you may have access to your older assets at 55.
Loan options: By rolling over an old 401 into a new plan, you may be able to borrow against the account, which is not an option with a 401 that remains with a former employer.
Lower fees: As stated above, the fees associated with your new employers plan may be lower than those of your former plan or a future IRA.
Also Check: How To Get Money From My 401k Plan
Next Steps To Consider
This information is intended to be educational and is not tailored to the investment needs of any specific investor.
Recently enacted legislation made a number of changes to the rules regarding defined contribution, defined benefit, and/or individual retirement plans and 529 plans. Information herein may refer to or be based on certain rules in effect prior to this legislation and current rules may differ. As always, before making any decisions about your retirement planning or withdrawals, you should consult with your personal tax advisor.
The change in the RMD age requirement from 70½ to 72 only applies to individuals who turn 70½ on or after January 1, 2020. Please speak with your tax advisor regarding the impact of this change on future RMDs.
A qualified distribution from a Roth IRA is tax-free and penalty-free, provided the 5-year aging requirement has been satisfied and one of the following conditions is met: age 59½ or older, disability, qualified first-time home purchase, or death.
Be sure to consider all your available options and the applicable fees and features of each before moving your retirement assets.
Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917
How We Make Money
You have money questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout lifes financial journey.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers.
Were transparent about how we are able to bring quality content, competitive rates, and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and, services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service.
Don’t Miss: How Do I Change My 401k Contribution Fidelity
Rolling The Assets Into An Ira Or Roth Ira
Moving your funds to an IRA is the route financial experts advise in most instances. “Now you’re in charge and you have more investment flexibility,” said Smith. Try not to go it alone, he advises. “Once you roll the money over, it’s you making the decisions, but getting a financial professional should be the first step.”
Your first decision: whether to open a traditional IRA or a Roth.
Traditional IRA. The main benefit of a traditional IRA is that your investment is tax-deductible now you put pre-tax money into an IRA, and those contributions are not part of your taxable income. If you have a traditional 401, those contributions were also made pre-tax and the transfer is simple. The main disadvantage is that you have to pay taxes on the money and its earnings later, when you withdraw them. You are also required to take an annual minimum distribution starting at age 70½, whether if you’re still working or not.
Roth IRA. Contributions to a Roth IRA are made with post-tax income money you have already paid taxes on. For that reason, when you withdraw it later neither what you contributed nor what it earned is taxable you will pay no taxes on your withdrawals. Investing in a Roth means you think the tax rates will go up later, said Rain. “If you think taxes will increase before you retire, you can pay now and let the money sit. When you need it, it is tax-free,” said Rain.
Option : Transfer The Money From Your Old 401 Plan Into Your New Employers Plan
Moving your old 401 into your new employers qualified retirement plan is also an option when you change jobs. The new plan may have lower fees or investment options that better support your financial goals. Rolling over your old 401 into your new companys plan can also make it easier to track your retirement savings, since youll have everything in one place. Its worthwhile to talk with an Ameriprise advisor who will compare the investments and features of both plans.
Some things to think about if youre considering rolling over a 401 into a new employers plan:
Recommended Reading: What Happens To Your 401k When You Leave A Company
Leave Your Account Where It Is
Many companies allow you to keep your 401 savings in their plans after you leave your job. Often thats only if you meet a minimum balance requirement, typically $5,000. Since this option requires no action, it is often chosen by default. But leaving your 401 where it is isnt always a result of procrastination. There are some valid reasons to do it.
You can take penalty-free withdrawals from an employer-sponsored retirement plan if you leave your job in or after the year you reached age 55 and expect to start taking withdrawals before turning 59 1/2.
Other reasons you may want to keep your retirement plan where it is include:
How Long Do I Have To Rollover Really Old 401s
Itâs easy to lose track of 401s youâve held at former employers. At the rate Americans change jobs, itâs possible to have 401s outstanding at multiple employers.
Human resource departments and plan administrators can lose track of 401 accounts of former employers, causing them to sit in the plan untouched for years.
There are no specific time constraints with these plans. However, if the plan were to cash out your old 401, youâll have 60 days from the time they terminated the plan to roll it over to another retirement account.
Also Check: What Is Max 401k Contribution For 2021
How Do I Complete A Rollover
Read Also: When Leaving A Job What To Do With 401k
Net Unrealized Appreciation Rules
People who have appreciated employer stock in their 401 may also elect to roll over everything except that stock in order to take advantage of the net unrealized appreciation rules.
What are we talking about?
The NUA of the stock is subject to different tax rules than ordinary funds and is not taxed upon distribution. You can defer the tax on the stock until you sell it and instead of paying ordinary income tax rates, youll follow capital gains tax rules. This can earn you a more favorable rate and save you some money.
Keep in mind that your basis in the stock is not part of this and is still subject to ordinary income tax rates. You also may face unfavorable tax implications or a 10% penalty if you pull money out before you turn 55.
Don’t Miss: Should I Get A 401k
What Happens To Your 401 When You Leave A Job
When you leave a job, you have a few options when it comes to your 401. It depends on how much you have in your 401 when you leave and what your planâs policies are as dictated in its summary plan description. Knowing your 401 balance before leaving and having a plan ahead of time can help save you a lot of time and stress.
Keeping Your 401 With Your Former Employer
If your former employer allows you to keep your funds in its retirement account after you leave, this may be a good option, but only in certain situations, says Colin F. Smith, president of The Retirement Company in Wilmington, N.C.
Staying in the old plan may make sense “if you like where you are and they may have investment options you can’t get in a new plan,” says Smith. “The other main advantage is that creditors cannot get to it.”
Additional advantages to keeping your 401 with your former employer include:
- Maintaining the money management services.
- Special tax advantages: If you leave your job in or after the year you reach age 55 and think you’ll start withdrawing funds before turning 59½, the withdrawals will be penalty free.
Some things to consider when leaving a 401 at a previous employer:
- If you plan on changing jobs a few more times before retirement, keeping track of all of the accounts may become cumbersome.
- You will no longer be able to contribute to the old plan and in some cases, may no longer be able to take a loan from the plan.
- Your investment options are more limited than in an IRA.
- You may not be able to make a partial withdrawal and may have to take the entire amount.
- If your assets are less than $5,000 you may have to proactively remain in the plan. If you don’t notify your plan administrator or former employer of your intent, they may automatically distribute the funds to you or to a rollover IRA.
You May Like: Can You Get A Loan Using Your 401k As Collateral
What Happens If I Leave My Employer And I Have An Outstanding Loan From My Plan Account
Keep in mind that most plans require that loans be repaid when you leave. If you roll over your remaining account balance to a new employers plan, you may also be able to roll over the outstanding balance of your loan to your new employers plan. Check with your new employer to find out if the loan will be accepted by the new plan. You cannot roll over your loan to an IRA.
If you cant move the loan to your new plan, and if you dont repay the loan within the time allotted, the outstanding balance will be treated as a withdrawal, subject to federal and applicable state and local taxes. If youre under age 59½, you may also have to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty unless you qualify for an exception.
Considering A 401 Rollover Consider Your Options First
If you decide a 401 rollover is right for you, we’re here to help. Call a Rollover Consultant at .
One great thing about a 401 retirement savings plan is that your assets are often portable when you leave a job. But what should you do with them? Rolling over your 401 to an IRA is one way to go, but you should consider your options before making a decision. There are several factors to consider based on your personal circumstances. The information provided here can help you decide.
You May Like: Where Can I Move My 401k Without Penalty
If You Have An Outstanding 401k Loan
Did you borrow any money from your 401? If you did and youre leaving the company, voluntarily or otherwise, you have the option to repay the loan to an IRA and you have until your personal tax return deadline of the following year to contribute that repayment amount to an IRA explains Mat Sorensen, CEO of Directed IRA and Directed Trust Company, thanks to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
If you cant pay the loan back in the allotted time, the plan will reduce your vested account balance in order to recoup the unpaid amount, says Ian Berger, IRA Analyst with IRAHelp.com and a colleague of Ed Slott, author of The New Retirement Savings Time Bomb.This is called a loan offset.
I think that many people forget that if they have a loan outstanding, it has to be paid, says Wayne Bogosian, co-author of The Complete Idiots Guide to 401 Plans.
Fail to repay it and the loan amount will count as income, potentially subject to tax, plus youll pay an additional penalty equal to 10 percent of the sum you borrowed if youre younger than age 59 ½, he says.
Taking a loan from your 401 is in reality, borrowing from yourself and may be an appropriate decision for some people who are unemployed with no income source, need money for medical expenses, or are purchasing their first home. However there are many things to consider before doing so.
If you cant pay the loan back to your 401, other than the potential tax implications listed above, the options below still apply.
Rolling 401 Assets Into An Ira
When you retire or leave your job for any reason, you have the right to roll over your 401 assets to an IRA. You have a number of direct rollover options:
Rolling your traditional 401 to a traditional IRA. You can roll your traditional 401 assets into a new or existing traditional IRA. To initiate the rollover, you complete the forms required by both the IRA provider you choose and your 401 plan administrator. The money is moved directly, either electronically or by check. No taxes are due on the assets you move, and any new earnings accumulate tax deferred.
Rolling your Roth 401 to a Roth IRA. You can roll your Roth 401 assets into a new or existing Roth IRA with a custodian of your choice. You complete the forms required by the IRA provider and your 401 plan administrator, and the money is moved directly either electronically or by check. No taxes are due when the money is moved and any new earnings accumulate tax deferred. Earnings are eligible for tax-free withdrawal once the IRA has been open at least five years and you are at least 59½.
Rolling your traditional 401 to a Roth IRA. If your traditional 401 plan permits direct rollovers to a Roth IRA, you can roll over assets in your traditional 401 to a new or existing Roth IRA. Keep in mind youll have to pay taxes on the rollover amount you convert.
Also Check: When Can You Withdraw From 401k Without Penalty