How to get a 401(k) into a bank CD

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You can transfer your 401(k) to a bank CD
You can transfer your 401(k) to a bank CD (Image: bank image by Pefkos from Fotolia.com)

A 401(k) can be a wonderful investment tool for retirement. Eventually you'll need to access the money and you may choose to transfer your assets to a bank certificate of deposit. This usually happens because you've retired or left your job. When this time comes you'll have several options to complete your transfer. This is only one method you could use, and it requires you to contact your 401(k) management company first.

Things You'll Need

  • 401(k) account number
  • Phone number to company managing your assets
  • Address of company managing your assets
  • Bank contact information

Determine the financial institution to which you'd like to transfer your 401(k) funds. Each bank offers different rates and terms for CDs, so you'll want to speak with several to find the best rate. The rate shouldn't be your only consideration. Sometimes banks will require certain things, such as a checking account, to get a good rate. This isn't always the best option if the bank is only offering a small percentage increase.

Contact or visit a representative from the company managing your 401(k). Tell him that you'd like to schedule a transfer of your 401(k) to another financial institution and need to begin the necessary paperwork. If you're transferring your money to a qualified account such as an IRA certificate of deposit, be sure to tell him that it will be a rollover of your assets. If the transaction isn't processed that way, you could pay taxes or penalties (if you're under 59 1/2) on your withdrawal.

Visit the bank you've chosen and inform it that you'll be transferring your assets there. Your banker will provide you with an account number to include in your transfer paperwork. Keep all the paperwork and your account number in an accessible file, as well as the contact information for the banker with whom you've worked.

Expect to wait at least two weeks for the check to arrive at your bank. It could be even longer. The 401(k) company will process your paperwork and send a check to your bank. If you're transferring your money as a rollover, the check should be paid to the order of your financial institution "for the benefit of (your name)." This helps to create a paper trail for tax purposes.

Call your banker to make sure he received the check. Once he does, he'll let you know the procedure for completing the transaction with his financial institution. With most banks, you'll have to visit a branch and sign the final paperwork.

Keep copies of all the paperwork from your 401(k) management company as well as the bank. Ask your banker to give you a copy of the check for your records in case any problems should arise when it's time to do your taxes.

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