How to Transfer a 401(k) Into a Traditional IRA

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401(k) plans and traditional IRAs are both tax-deferred accounts.
401(k) plans and traditional IRAs are both tax-deferred accounts. (Image: tax forms image by Chad McDermott from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Employers provide 401(k) plans so their employees have a tax-deferred retirement savings plan. However, when you leave your job or retire, you may want to transfer your 401(k) plan to a traditional IRA to maintain the tax-deferred status of the account or to consolidate your retirement accounts. By transferring your 401(k) into a traditional IRA, you do not incur any tax consequences.

Make sure you are eligible to transfer money from your 401(k)plan into a traditional IRA. Transfers can only be completed when you separate from the company or after you have reached age 59 1/2. You cannot transfer required minimum distributions or hardship distributions from a 401(k) plan to a traditional IRA.

Call your 401(k) plan administrator to request a transfer form. Some plans may have a website from where you can download the form.

Complete the transfer request form, including the account information for your traditional IRA. The money will automatically be moved without you having to complete any further steps. You do not need to report the transfer on your taxes.

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