Can I Rollover a 401k While Still Employed

Rolling over a 401(k) while still employed allows you to move funds from your current employer’s plan to a different retirement account. This can be done for reasons such as consolidating accounts, seeking lower fees, or investing in a wider range of options. To initiate a rollover, you’ll need to contact both your current employer and the receiving account provider. They will guide you through the steps and ensure a smooth transfer without triggering any penalties or tax consequences. It’s important to consider the tax implications and other factors carefully before making a decision to rollover your 401(k).

Eligibility Requirements for In-Service Rollovers

In-service rollovers allow you to transfer funds from your current employer’s 401(k) plan to an IRA or another eligible employer’s plan while still employed.

Eligibility requirements vary depending on the plan and employer. Generally, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Plan Allows Rollovers: The original 401(k) plan document must permit in-service rollovers.
  • Age Requirement: Some plans may require you to be at least 59½ years old to perform an in-service rollover.
  • Hardship Reason: In some cases, you may be able to make an in-service rollover if you have a financial hardship, such as a significant medical expense or educational cost.
Plan TypeEligibility Requirements
Traditional 401(k)Generally allowed after two years of service or upon reaching age 59½
Roth 401(k)Usually not allowed before reaching age 59½ or separation from service
SIMPLE IRAAllowed after two years of service
SEP IRAAllowed at any time

Note: It’s important to check with your plan administrator and employer to determine their specific requirements and any potential restrictions.

Tax Implications of Rollovers While Employed

When you rollover a 401(k) while still employed, there are tax implications to consider. Here’s how it works:

  • Pre-taxrollovers: If you roll over pre-tax 401(k) contributions into another qualified retirement account, like an IRA or another 401(k) plan, the funds remain tax-deferred. No taxes are due at the time of the rollover, but all withdrawals in retirement will be taxed as ordinary income.
  • After-tax rollovers: If you roll over after-tax 401(k) contributions, the amount that was already taxed when contributed will not be taxed again. However, any earnings on those after-tax contributions will be taxed as ordinary income upon withdrawal.
  • Mixed rollovers: If you have both pre-tax and after-tax contributions in your 401(k), you can choose to roll over one type of contribution but not the other. In this case, the tax implications will vary based on the type of contribution being rolled over.

Note that if you withdraw funds from your 401(k) before age 59.5 and are still employed, you may face a 10% early withdrawal penalty in addition to income taxes.

Plan Restrictions and Limitations

Whether you can rollover a 401k while still employed depends on the specific rules of your plan. Some plans allow in-service rollovers, while others do not. In-service rollovers are rollovers that are made while you are still employed by the company that sponsors the 401k plan.

If your plan does not allow in-service rollovers, you will not be able to rollover your 401k until you leave your job. However, if your plan does allow in-service rollovers, there may be some restrictions or limitations.

  • You may only be able to rollover a certain amount of money each year.
  • You may only be able to rollover money from certain types of accounts.
  • You may have to pay a fee to rollover your money.

It is important to check with your plan administrator to find out the specific rules for in-service rollovers.

Type of RolloverRestrictions
Direct Rollover
  • Must be made directly from one plan to another.
  • No taxes or penalties are withheld.
Indirect Rollover
  • Participant receives the funds and then contributes them to a new plan.
  • Taxes and penalties may apply.

Advantages and Disadvantages of In-Service Rollovers

An in-service rollover allows you to move retirement funds from an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan to another qualified plan while still actively employed with the company. Here are the key advantages and disadvantages to consider:


  • Increased investment options: You may have access to a wider range of investment choices in the new plan, including self-directed brokerage accounts.
  • Lower fees: Some plans may offer lower investment and administrative fees, potentially reducing the cost of your retirement savings.
  • Consolidation: You can simplify your retirement savings by consolidating multiple 401(k) accounts into one plan.
  • Tax diversification: If you roll over to a Roth IRA, your withdrawals will be tax-free in retirement, providing tax diversification.


  • Tax implications: If you roll over to a traditional IRA, you will pay taxes on withdrawals in retirement. If you roll over to a Roth IRA, you will pay taxes on the amount rolled over upfront.
  • Loss of employer match: You may forfeit future contributions and employer matching funds by rolling over to an outside plan.
  • Limitations and restrictions: In-service rollovers may be subject to plan-specific rules and limits, such as frequency restrictions or minimum rollover amounts.
  • Potential loss of loan options: Some 401(k) plans offer loan options, which you may lose if you roll over to an outside account.

To help you make an informed decision, here is a table summarizing the advantages and disadvantages:

Increased investment optionsTax implications
Lower feesLoss of employer match
ConsolidationLimitations and restrictions
Tax diversification (Roth IRA only)Potential loss of loan options

Well, folks, that’s all she wrote! I hope you found this little ditty on rolling over your 401k while still holding down the fort at your 9-to-5 helpful. Remember, folks, knowledge is power, and financial power is the best kind of power there is. So, keep on learning, keep on investing, and keep on growing that nest egg. Thanks for hanging out with me today. Be sure to swing by again soon for more financial wisdom and life advice. I’m always here to lend a helping hand, or at least a friendly ear. Ciao for now!