Contact Your Old 401 Provider
First, identify the provider of your old 401. If you aren’t sure who your old 401 provider is, the name should be on your account statements. If you have trouble finding this information, call your former employer.
Is your old 401 with Fidelity? If so, you can do the entire rollover through your NetBenefits®. account. You don’t need any additional paperwork, and the money can be directly transferred.
Is your old 401 with a different provider? If so, they will need to start the rollover process, so you’ll need to either call them or initiate the process online. They may need some paperwork, such as a Letter of Acceptance from Fidelity, or their own paperwork completed and signed by you or a Fidelity representative. If you have multiple accounts or employers, you may need more than one LOA.
Here are some questions to ask when you contact them. If you’d like to have a Fidelity rollover specialist on the line with you when you call, call us first at 800-343-3548.
Covington, KY 41015-0037
Do you own company stock?
If you have shares of company stock, it’s easiest to give us a call at 800-343-3548 and one of our rollover specialists can help you understand your options and take action.
Rolling Over To A New 401
The first step in transferring an old 401 to a new employer’s qualified retirement plan is to speak with the new plan sponsor, custodian, or human resources manager who assists employees with enrolling in the 401 plan. Because not every employer-sponsored plan accepts transfers from an outside 401, it is imperative for a new employee to ask if the option is available from the new employer. If the plan does not accept 401 transfers, the employee needs to select one of the three other options for the 401 account balance.
If the new employer plan accepts 401 transfers from other companies, there is often a substantial amount of paperwork that must be completed by the employee. The paperwork is provided by the new plan sponsor or human resources contact and requires the name, date of birth, address, Social Security number, and other employee identifying information.
In addition, the 401 transfer form must provide details of the old employer plan, including total amount to be transferred, investment selections held in the account, date contributions started and stopped, and contribution type, such as pre-tax or Roth. A new plan sponsor may also require an employee to establish new investment instructions for the account being transferred on the form. Once the transfer form is complete, it can be returned to the plan sponsor for processing.
A transfer from one 401 to another is a tax-free transaction, and no early withdrawal penalties are assessed.
How Hard Is It To Rollover A 401k
Rolling over your 401 can be a tedious experience, but the rewards outweigh the temporary headaches. Once youve consolidated your money into a rollover IRA, itll be a lot easier to move it around, since so many of these requirements come from the employer plans, and not from the brokers themselves.
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What Is The Time Limit For An Indirect Rollover
When it comes to rollovers, the clock starts ticking only if you perform an “indirect rollover.” This happens where the company sends the account balance to you personally, instead of transferring it directly to your IRA. You’ll almost always get an indirect rollover if there’s less than $1,000 invested in your 401 as the employer can send you a check for the money.
The rule here is that you must deposit the funds into your IRA within 60 days of the old account being closed. Miss the deadline even by one day and the IRS will treat the rollover as if you made an early withdrawal. In other words, you have to pay income taxes on the fund balance and the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty.
Here’s an illustration. If you received a check for, say, $50,000 from your employer and deposited it in your IRA on day 59, nothing would happen. There would be no tax bill and no penalty. But if you deposited it on day 61, your taxable income for the year just went up by $50,000. You also pay a $5,000 penalty if you’re under age 59 1/2.
Open Your Account And Find Out How To Conduct A Rollover
After youve found a brokerage or robo-advisor that meets your needs, open your IRA account. Once its open, you can begin the process for rolling over your 401 money into the account.
Each brokerage and robo-advisor has its own process for conducting a rollover, so youll need to contact the institution for your new account to see exactly whats needed. Youll want to follow their procedures exactly. If youre rolling over money into your current 401, contact your new plan administrator for instructions on what to do.
For example, if the 401 company is sending a check, your IRA institution may request that the check be written in a certain way and they might require that the check contains your IRA account number on it.
Again, follow your institutions instructions carefully to avoid complications.
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What Are The Advantages Of Rolling Over A 401 To An Ira
Doing a 401 rollover to an IRA offers perks that can include more diverse investment selections than a typical 401 plan, perhaps cheaper investments and lower account fees. It’s also a way to keep your retirement funds organized and ensure you have easy access to them. And while some 401 plans pass account management fees along to the employees, many IRAs charge no account fees.
In summary, it’s a good way to save money, stay organized and make your money work harder.
Fund Selection And Fees
Ideally, you want low-cost fund options with no administrative fees. Consider the choices available with different brokerages to minimize the administrative or brokerage fees you may pay.
When it comes to fund selection, the sheer volume of choices can feel overwhelming. Beginner or hands-off investors may benefit from target date funds or robo-advisors that manage retirement funds for you based on your risk profile.
If you prefer to manage investment choices on your own, most advisors recommend beginners start with a simple portfolio of a broad U.S. stock index fund, a broad international stock fund and a U.S. bond fund. For more on how to invest for retirement, check out our guide.
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How Long Can My Employer Hold My 401 K
If you leave your job, the company you worked for has a limited amount of time to deal with your old 401 k. Depending on how old you are and how much money was in your Individual Retirement Account, your former employer may pay your 401 k funds in a lump sum distribution or rollover the funds into your new employer’s 401 k. This also depends on the old employer’s 401 k and retirement plan.
Generally speaking, your former employer should pay the account balance of your Individual Retirement Account/IRA within a few days of you leaving. The way this happens depends on the company. However, your former employer is likely to simply send you a check for the balance in your 401 k account. This depends on how much pay, income, and money in your 401 k you have access to, though.
The amount of time the company you worked for can take to transfer any remaining contributions to your 401 k plan is different, though. There is a deadline for sending these contributions to you as an employee. The US Department of Labor requires that the company you work for transfer the contributions to your account as soon as possible. However, it cannot legally take any longer than the 15th of the following month.
Balance Between $1000 And $5000
For 401 balances less than $5,000, your employer doesnât need your permission to transfer your funds out of the 401 plan.
However, if you have over $1,000 in your 401âand you havenât opted to have your funds rolled over to a specific accountâthe planâs administrator is required to transfer your 401 funds to an IRA.
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Pros And Cons: 401 Vs Ira
How And Why To Transfer Your 401 To An Ira
By Justin Pritchard, CFP® in Montrose, CO
When you change jobs or retire, you have several options for the money in your 401. You can typically transfer that money to an IRA, leave it in the plan, move it to your new jobs retirement plan, or cash out. In many cases, its smart to move your savings into an IRA. Well cover the pros and cons here so you can decide whats best.
The process can be confusing and intimidating, so its easy to do nothing. But that might result in leaving your savings with an employer that you no longer have any connection to, and one you might even dislike or distrust.
Key takeaway:Read more below, or listen to the explanation .
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When Leaving Your Job You Can Typically Cash Out Your 401 Or Roll It Over Into A Different Retirement Account Certain Options Can Make You Much Richer
Both a 401 and IRA are tax-advantaged retirement accounts, but they work differently. 401s are sponsored by employers and often offer limited investment options. IRAs aren’t linked to employment. They can be opened with any brokerage firm or other financial institutions and have a wider variety of investment selections, but require more hands-on management.
Because 401s are offered through employers, you’ll need to determine what to do with yours when you leave your job. Your options include:
- Leave it invested
- Rollover to a new 401
- Rollover to an IRA
There are plenty of pros and cons to these options, but let’s take a close look at when rolling your workplace 401 into an IRA may make sense for you.
Why Roll A 401 Into An Ira
IRAs are a way to save for your retirement from your own contributions, which is ideal if you are planning to work for yourself or your new employer does not offer a retirement plan. They also offer certain benefits that 401s do not. For example, while most employer-sponsored plans offer limited investment choices, IRAs put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to growing your wealth. Stocks, bonds, money-exchanges, real estate investment trusts, certificates of deposit you can invest in all of these and more with an IRA.
Like a 401, you are supposed to leave the money in the IRA until you retire. Withdraw the money before age 59 1/2, and the tax man will hit you with an early payment penalty equal to 10 percent of the distribution, and you’ll have to pay income tax on the amount you’ve withdrawn. An IRA is more flexible than a 401, however, in that you can withdraw up to $10,000 penalty-free before age 59 1/2 to purchase a first-time home or to pay for college expenses.
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Plan Your Retirement With Your 401 K
If you haven’t already, it’s crucial that you start to plan your retirement as soon as possible. Financial security is a vital part of having a healthy and happy retirement. The aim of having a 401 k in the first place is that it gives you freedom from work and acts as a nest egg. You might be working hard now, but you want to be able to truly enjoy your golden years. Having the proper retirement plans in place is the easiest way to ensure this. If you start planning to retire well before the time comes, you should be in a very strong position financially.
Take the time to come up with plans for your retirement while you still have a job. These plans don’t have to be concrete. All you have to do is get an idea of how your retirement may look financially. Then you can plan distributions from your 401 k, as well as any investments you may want to investigate.
How Long Will My Withdrawal Request Take
Once Guideline receives your distribution request we will process as quickly as administratively feasible. Processing typically takes about 1-2 weeks, though these timelines can vary. Once your request is submitted, you will receive an email shortly after with an expected timeline, and another email notification when your check is ready for mailing. Please expect approximately 7-10 business days for check delivery via USPS addressed from our custodian, Benefit Trust Company.
Please note that if youve requested a rollover between one Guideline account to another Guideline account, no check will be mailed. Instead, your funds will be transferred directly between your Guideline accounts in approximately 3-5 business days once Guideline has finished processing.
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What Happens If I Dont Make Any Election Regarding My Retirement Plan Distribution
The plan administrator must give you a written explanation of your rollover options for the distribution, including your right to have the distribution transferred directly to another retirement plan or to an IRA.
If youre no longer employed by the employer maintaining your retirement plan and your plan account is between $1,000 and $5,000, the plan administrator may deposit the money into an IRA in your name if you dont elect to receive the money or roll it over. If your plan account is $1,000 or less, the plan administrator may pay it to you, less, in most cases, 20% income tax withholding, without your consent. You can still roll over the distribution within 60 days.
You Can Use It To Give Yourself A Loan But Be Careful
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Using a rollover to transfer money from one tax-advantaged retirement account to another can be tricky. One thing you must understand is the 60-day rollover rule, which requires you to deposit all your funds into a new individual retirement account , 401, or another qualified retirement account within 60 days.
Most folks see it as a ticking time bomb. However, if you have a need for cash and your retirement funds are your best source, the 60-day rollover rule can be used to your advantage.
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Invest Your Newly Deposited Funds
You’ll have to choose investments in your new IRA so your money can grow. Make sure to maintain an appropriate asset allocation given your age, and consider your risk tolerance.
Finally, when your new IRA has been opened, be sure to read up on common IRA mistakes to avoid, such as forgetting required minimum distributions, not designating beneficiaries, and trading too often in the account.
Rollover To A Traditional Ira
Transferring funds between a traditional 401 and a traditional IRA or between a Roth 401 and a Roth IRA is relatively straightforward. In many cases, you can do a direct rollover, also called a trustee-to-trustee transfer. This involves your 401 provider wiring funds directly to your new IRA provider. Alternatively, your 401 provider may send you a check that you then deposit into your new IRA.
Look out for any taxes your provider may have preemptively deducted. You shouldnt owe any taxes or penalties as long as you deposit money in a tax-advantaged retirement account within 60 days.
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Contact Your Current Plan Administrator And New Plan Administrator
The easiest 401 rollover option is to get your old plan administrator to transfer your balance directly to your new account. This is called a direct 401 rollover, and it frees you from having to worry about tax consequences or early withdrawal penalties.
Speak with your new plan provider about getting an account number, then provide the information to your current 401 administrator. Theyll take care of the rest.
Be aware that not every plan administrator will perform a direct 401 rollover. In this case, the plan administrator cuts you a check for the balance, and its up to you to send the funds to your new 401 plan provider. You have just 60 days to redeposit the balance in your new plan. Otherwise its treated as an early withdrawal that incurs a penalty and income tax liabilities.
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