The National Directory of Certified Public Accountants

Ask A CPA - Investments & Financial Planning

What Happens To My 401(K) Retirement Plan When I Change Jobs ?

Generally, you have three options for what to do with the vested portion of your 401(k) retirement account. If your vested account balance is $5,000 or more and you are under age 65 then you can leave your money where it is and taxes will not be due until you withdraw money from the account. You can roll over your 401(k) retirement account into a rollover IRA account or into your new employer's 401(k) retirement plan. If you do a direct rollover you should have the money transferred directly into the new account so you will not owe taxes until you withdraw money from the account. If you elect to take your money out of the 401(k) retirement account and not roll it over into a Rollover IRA or another 401(k) plan, you will owe all applicable taxes (plus the 10% early withdrawal penalty if you are under age 59 and a half.)

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