How to Roll 401k to New Employer

When starting a new job, you might wonder what to do with your 401(k) from your previous employer. Rolling it over to your new employer’s plan can be a smart move since it keeps your retirement savings growing tax-deferred. To do this, contact your old plan administrator and request a rollover form. Complete the form, indicating the amount you want to transfer and your new employer’s plan information. You can either have the money directly transferred or receive a check to deposit into your new account. Always check with your financial advisor before making any decisions regarding your retirement savings.

Direct Rollover to New Plan

A direct rollover is the preferred method of transferring your 401(k) funds to a new employer’s plan. In this scenario, the funds are sent directly from the old plan to the new one, bypassing your personal account.

  • Contact your old plan administrator: Initiate the rollover process by reaching out to your former employer’s plan administrator.
  • Provide necessary information: You’ll need to furnish the new plan’s information, including the plan name, account number, and routing number.
  • Complete a rollover form: The plan administrator will provide a rollover form that you need to complete and sign.
  • Tax implications: Direct rollovers are tax-free and do not result in any early withdrawal penalty, as long as the funds are rolled over within 60 days.
  • Timeframe: The rollover typically takes 3-5 business days to complete.

Understanding 401(k) Rollovers to New Employer

When changing jobs, managing your 401(k) account is crucial. One option is to roll over your existing 401(k) to your new employer’s plan, allowing you to consolidate and continue growing your retirement savings.

Direct Rollover: The Simplest Option

A direct rollover is the most straightforward way to transfer funds. Your current employer will send the money directly to your new employer’s plan, avoiding any tax implications or penalties.

  • Contact your old and new employers to initiate the process.
  • Provide required documentation, including account numbers and amounts.
  • Both employers will handle the transfer without you receiving or depositing any funds.

Indirect Rollover into IRA

If your new employer does not have a compatible 401(k) plan, you can consider an indirect rollover. Here’s how it works:

  • Request a distribution from your current 401(k) into your personal IRA.
  • You have 60 days to deposit the funds into your new employer’s 401(k).
  • Income tax is due on any funds not deposited within 60 days.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Type of RolloverAdvantagesDisadvantages
Direct Rollover– No tax implications or penalties
– Simple and straightforward
– May not be an option if new employer’s plan is incompatible
Indirect Rollover– Allows for flexibility if new employer’s plan is incompatible
– Can be used to consolidate multiple 401(k)s
– Income tax due on funds not deposited within 60 days
– May involve fees or penalties from IRA provider

What to Consider Before Rolling Over Your 401(k)

Moving your 401(k) to a new employer’s plan is a common and generally straightforward process. However, there are some potential tax implications and other factors to consider before initiating a rollover.

Tax Implications of Rollovers

When you roll over your 401(k) to another qualified plan, such as a traditional IRA or a new employer’s plan, the funds are not subject to current income tax. This is because the rollover is considered a transfer of ownership, not a withdrawal.

However, if you take a distribution from your 401(k) before rolling it over, the funds will be subject to both income tax and a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you are under age 59½. Additionally, if you roll over the funds to a Roth IRA, the funds may be subject to income tax when you withdraw them in retirement.

Steps to Roll Over Your 401(k)

  • Contact your current and new employers. Inform your old employer that you wish to roll over your 401(k) and ask them for the necessary paperwork.
  • Choose a new plan. Decide where you want to roll over your 401(k) funds. You can roll over your funds to a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or a new employer’s 401(k) plan.
  • Complete the rollover paperwork. Provide the necessary information to both your old and new plan providers, including the amount of funds you wish to roll over and the account numbers for both accounts.

Direct vs. Indirect Rollovers

There are two main types of rollovers: direct rollovers and indirect rollovers.

  • Direct rollover. With a direct rollover, the funds are transferred directly from your old plan to your new plan by a trustee-to-trustee transfer. This is the most efficient and secure way to roll over your funds.
  • Indirect rollover. With an indirect rollover, the funds are first distributed to you and then you have 60 days to roll them over to your new plan. This method is less secure than a direct rollover because you are responsible for depositing the funds into your new account within the 60-day period.

Timeline and Fees

The time it takes for a rollover to be completed can vary depending on the plan providers involved. However, most rollovers are completed within a few weeks.

There may be fees associated with rolling over your 401(k). These fees can include:

  • Fees charged by your old employer
  • Fees charged by your new employer
  • Fees charged by the brokerage firm or other financial institution that handles the rollover


Rolling over your 401(k) to a new employer’s plan can be a smart financial move. However, it is important to consider the potential tax implications and other factors before making a decision. By following the steps outlined above, you can help ensure that your rollover is successful.

Type of RolloverDescription
Direct RolloverFunds are transferred directly from old plan to new plan by a trustee-to-trustee transfer.
Indirect RolloverFunds are first distributed to you and then you have 60 days to roll them over to your new plan.

Steps for a Successful 401k Rollover to New Employer

Rolling over your 401k funds to your new employer can ensure continued tax-advantaged retirement savings. Follow these steps for a seamless transition:

Choosing the Right Rollover Option

There are two main rollover options to consider:

  • Direct Rollover: Funds are transferred directly from the old 401k to the new 401k, avoiding taxes and penalties.
  • Indirect Rollover (60-Day Rollover): You receive a check or distribution from the old 401k, and you have 60 days to roll it over into the new 401k. Taxes may apply if the funds are not rolled over within 60 days.

Steps to Rollover Your 401k

  1. Gather Information: Obtain statements from both the old and new 401k providers and any necessary forms.
  2. Choose a Rollover Option: Decide on the best rollover option based on your situation.
  3. Contact Your Old 401k Provider: Initiate the rollover process with your old provider and provide the necessary information.
  4. Set Up Your New 401k Account: Contact your new employer’s 401k provider to establish an account.
  5. Complete the Rollover Form: Fill out the rollover form provided by your old 401k provider, specifying the amount and type of funds to be transferred.
  6. Monitor the Transfer: Track the status of the rollover to ensure it’s completed successfully.

Table Summarizing Rollover Options

Rollover OptionAdvantagesDisadvantages
Direct RolloverTax-free and penalty-freeMust be done directly between 401k providers
Indirect Rollover (60-Day Rollover)Provides flexibilityTaxes and penalties may apply if not rolled over within 60 days

And there you have it, folks! Rolling over your 401k to a new employer is a piece of cake when you follow these steps. Just remember to do your research, choose the right plan for your needs, and follow the instructions carefully. Thanks for reading, and be sure to drop by again for more financial wisdom!