15626

Dave Says: How to Transfer Your 401k

15626

Dear Dave,

How should I handle my 401(k) when moving from one job to another?

Tracy

Dear Tracy,

I would roll it to an IRA. Your new company, if you move it there, will have limited choices for your 401(k). You’d also probably have a lengthy waiting period for verification and the potential add-on fees and taxes. 

Plus, with an IRA you can cash it out if something really bad happens. But I rarely ever advise people to cash out their IRAs. The only exceptions are extreme cases, like to avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure. Even then, hardship withdrawals are very difficult to get. And again, this kind of thing should never be done except in an absolute, worst-case scenario.

Just roll your money into a traditional IRA, Tracy. It’s called a direct transfer IRA, and that way there will be no taxes on it. You want the money to go directly from the 401(k) to the IRA. Then, you’ll have the freedom to choose from about 8,000 mutual funds and move the money around, if you like.

In other words, you’re in control. That’s the way it should be when it comes to your money!

—Dave