Can You Do a Partial Rollover From a 401k to an IRA?
As soon as you leave a job, it may be wise to convert part or all of your 401(k) into an IRA in order to take advantage of lower fees and increased investment options.
Rolling over an IRA can be complex. Before making any decisions about this matter, it’s essential that you familiarise yourself with all applicable regulations.
What is a 401k rollover?
A 401(k) rollover refers to the transfer of funds from one retirement plan or account to another – such as from one 401(k) to an IRA or vice versa – and allowed by the Internal Revenue Service both directly or indirectly.
In an indirect rollover, your old employer’s 401(k) distribution is sent directly to an IRA without ever passing through your hands; alternatively, with direct rollover, money is sent directly from its administrator into an IRA without passing through your hands first.
Rollovers of 401(k) accounts can help individuals gain clarity over their retirement savings. Tracking multiple accounts across various employers can become cumbersome as you move closer to retirement and the requirement of minimum distributions (RMDs) kick in, so consolidating all your retirement assets into an IRA may make sense in these instances.
How can I do a 401k rollover?
At any financial institution, you can roll over money from a workplace savings plan into an individual retirement account (IRA). Each broker or robo-advisor may have its own set of procedures – just be sure to heed them!
Your former employer should send you a distribution check which needs to be deposited back into an IRA within 60 days in order to avoid taxes and penalties. Request that they make it payable to the institution where you intend to open an IRA, along with including your account number on it.
IRA investment options are more extensive than those available through workplace plans, and you have the choice between Roth or traditional IRAs. If you anticipate being in a higher tax bracket during retirement, a Roth may be best. Before rolling over shares from an old 401(k), make sure to account for any unrealized appreciation (“NUA”).
Can I do a 401k rollover to a Roth IRA?
You should be able to transfer most pretax retirement plan distributions within 60 days from receiving them into an IRA or another eligible retirement account, although be wary if moving money between a pretax 401(k) and an IRA, as this transfer could incur taxes.
Make sure that the distribution goes directly from your 401(k) into an IRA at another financial institution – this way you won’t incur mandatory 20 percent withholding for taxes and a 10 percent penalty if you’re under age 59 1/2.
Once your rollover is completed, the IRS should issue you a Form 1099-R documenting its distribution. After filing an amended return to correct any missed taxable income, your IRA may be invested using brokerage or robo advisor platforms offering access to low cost investments.
Can I do a 401k rollover to a traditional IRA?
Though partial rollovers are permitted by the IRS, it may be more tax-efficient to leave funds in your old 401(k) plan and manage it yourself or hire someone to manage them for you. Your decision should take into account both where you currently stand financially as well as what investments each plan provides you with.
Your options for making the transition can range from direct rollover by sending the distribution check directly from your old plan to your IRA institution, or indirect by depositing it in a personal checking account and then writing a check from that account to your IRA institution. Either way, you have 60 days before incurring an early withdrawal penalty of 10% of the distribution amount.
Trustee transfers refer to direct transfers between 401(k) retirement plans and individual retirement accounts of the same financial institution, such as an IRA. A trustee transfer may take place by sending a letter from your old plan directly to the IRA institution asking for funds to be moved over or by having your distribution check signed over directly into your IRA account.