Once you have decided that a rollover is right for you, you need to open your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) so the plan administrator knows where to send your money.
Traditional IRAs are used to roll over balances from former employer-sponsored plans such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, or governmental 457 plans.
Roth IRAs are used to roll over balances from former employer-sponsored plan Roth accounts such as Roth 401(k)s, Roth 403(b)s, or Roth 457 governmental plans. A Roth IRA would also be used if you want to convert all or a portion of your former employer-sponsored plans.
Please keep in mind that rolling over assets to an IRA is just one of multiple options for your retirement plan. Each of the following options are different and may have distinct advantages and disadvantages.
- Roll assets into an IRA
- Leave assets in your former employer’s plan, if plan allows
- Move assets into a new employer’s plan, if plan allows
- Cash-out or take a lump-sum distribution
When considering rolling over assets from an employer plan to an IRA, factors that should be considered and compared between the employer plan and the IRA include fees & expenses, services offered, investment options, when penalty free withdrawals are available, treatment of employer stock, when required minimum distributions begin and protection of assets from creditors & bankruptcy. Investing and maintaining assets in an IRA will generally involve higher costs than those associated with employer-sponsored retirement plans. You should consult with the plan administrator and a professional tax advisor before making any decisions regarding your retirement assets.