When and how to combine 401(k)s and other retirement accounts

If you decide a 401(k) rollover is right for you, we're here to help. Call a Rollover Consultant at 866-855-5635.

You may have accumulated several retirement accounts in different places over the years, including 401(k) plans from previous employers. Consolidating 401(k)s and other retirement accounts can simplify your overall financial situation.

Consolidating 401(k)s can help you:

  • Lower administrative fees.
  • View your portfolio holistically.
  • Monitor investments in one place.
  • Prepare your taxes more easily.
  • Simplify your finances for the future.

Combining 401(k) accounts: How to get started

  • Gather your most recent 401(k) and IRA statements. To transfer these accounts, you need statements that are less than 90 days old.
  • Collect online rollover or transfer forms and contact information from your brokerage company or previous employer.
  • Be sure to have your 401(k) accounts rolled over directly to Schwab. If you don't, you may have to pay taxes you could have avoided.

Common questions

Whether or not you should combine your 401(k) retirement accounts depends on your personal financial situation, investment preferences, and retirement goals. Some of the benefits of combining 401(k) accounts include:

  • Access to a potentially wider range of investment options.
  • Easier portfolio management from one central place.
  • Simplified overall financial situation.

You can consolidate a range of retirement accounts, including:

  • IRA
  • 401(k)
  • 403(b)
  • 457(b) plan
  • Keogh
  • Pension Plan
  • Roth IRA
  • Roth 401(k)

No, spouses cannot combine retirement accounts. However, a spouse can be named as a beneficiary of your account, which can be rolled into their own IRA in the event of your death.

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This tax information is not intended

This tax information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal, or investment planning advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, Schwab recommends that you consult with a qualified tax advisor, CPA, financial planner, or investment manager.  Depending on the type of account you have, there are different rules for withdrawals, penalties, and distributions.  Please understand these before opening your account.

A rollover of retirement plan assets to an IRA is not your only option. Carefully consider all of your available options which may include but not be limited to keeping your assets in your former employer's plan; rolling over assets to a new employer's plan; or taking a cash distribution (taxes and possible withdrawal penalties may apply). Prior to a decision, be sure to understand the benefits and limitations of your available options and consider factors such as differences in investment related expenses, plan or account fees, available investment options, distribution options, legal and creditor protections, the availability of loan provisions, tax treatment, and other concerns specific to your individual circumstances.

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