What Happens to A 401(K) After You Leave Your Job?

mm
By Richard Barrington

Our articles, research studies, tools, and reviews maintain strict editorial integrity; however, we may be compensated when you click on or are approved for offers from our partners.

slide-9

Once you have made a decision about where you want your 401(k) balance to go, do the following:

  1. Ask the 401(k) plan administrator at your current employer about their distribution/rollover procedures.
  2. Provide the 401(k) plan administrator at your current employer with clear, written instructions about where you want the money to go.
  3. Make sure the institution that will be receiving your 401(k) rollover gets a copy of those instructions too.
  4. Check to see that the balance was received once you make the move to your new employer.

If possible, line up as much of this as you can before your last day of work, because timing is crucial.

More resources from MoneyRates:

Read our guide on how to start investing: 10 steps for getting started investing

Have your finances improved since the financial crisis?

Ask the expert Q: Can I turn $100k into $1 million in a decade?

About Author
mm
Richard Barrington
Richard Barrington has been a Senior Financial Analyst for MoneyRates. He has appeared on Fox Business News and NPR, and has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, CNBC and many other publications. Richard has over 30 years of experience in financial services. He has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation from the Association of Investment Management and Research (now the “CFA Institute”).