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Should I Roll Over My 401(k)?

Individual Retirement Accounts > Rollover IRA > Should I roll over my 401(k)?

Thinking of rolling over your employer-
sponsored retirement plan to a Rollover IRA?

If you have a workplace retirement plan from a former employer, consider all your choices. You may be able to roll over to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA, move to a new employer's plan, leave the account where it is or take a lump-sum distribution. Each has different advantages and disadvantages in terms of investments, fees, withdrawal rules, required minimum distributions, taxes and protection from creditors. As you evaluate your choices, carefully review the information provided to find the one that best fits your retirement goals. Learn more about the Merrill Edge Rollover IRA.
Traditional IRA Roth IRA Move to New Employer's Plan Stay in Former Employer's Plan
Account Management & Investment Choices
Can you consolidate your accounts? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA Yes Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Varies by plan
What is the range of investment choices? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA May offer more investment choices than an employer-sponsored plan — including stocks, bonds, options, ETFs, mutual funds (when investing online) and managed portfolios (available through Merrill Guided Investing* or Merrill Edge Select® Portfolios*) Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Varies by plan, but may be limited
Can you make "in kind" transfers of investments from current plan? Any of the choices Varies by plan and investment type
Can you work with an advisor to get investment guidance? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA Yes, Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisors™ Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Varies by plan
Is there access to additional online tools and resources? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA Yes Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Varies by plan
Taxes
Are taxes deferred on investment earnings Traditional IRA Yes Roth IRA YesFootnote 1 Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Yes
Can you make new tax-advantaged contributions? Traditional IRA Possibly, depending on the IRA holder's (and his or her spouse's) modified adjusted gross income and access to a workplace retirement plan Roth IRA Roth contributions are made on an after-tax basis, and the ability to contribute is subject to modified adjusted gross income limitations Move to New Employer's Plan Yes, subject to potential eligibility waiting periods for new employeesFootnote 1 Stay in Former Employer's Plan No
Is there special tax treatment for appreciated company stock? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA or Move to New Employer's PlanNoFootnote 2 Stay in Former Employer's Plan Certain assets may be eligible for Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA) tax treatment when distributed from a former employer's plan; consult your tax advisor for detailsFootnote 2
Traditional IRA Roth IRA Move to New Employer's Plan Stay in Former Employer's Plan
Withdrawals
Can you roll over into an employer's plan at a future date? Traditional IRA Yes, subject to employer plan rules Roth IRA No Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Yes, subject to employer plan rules
Can you take a loan from the account? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA No Move to New Employer's Plan Varies by planFootnote 3 Stay in Former Employer's Plan Generally, no
Is there an additional tax for early withdrawals if an exception does not apply? Traditional IRA Yes, 10% before age 59½ Roth IRA Yes, 10% before age 59½ on earningsFootnote 4 Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Yes, 10% before age 59½
Are there any exceptions to the additional tax for early withdrawals? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA Yes, for example, for qualifying home purchases or college expenses Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Yes, if a plan's rules allow hardship distributions, then some forms of distribution may qualify for an exception to the early withdrawal additional tax; for example, qualifying home purchases or college expenses
Can you withdraw without paying the early withdrawal tax once you are 55? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA No Move to New Employer's Plan Yes, if the payment is made after you left your new job and you attained at least age 55 in the year you terminated employment Stay in Former Employer's Plan Yes, if the payment is made after you left your old job and you attained at least age 55 in the year you terminated employment
Are there required minimum distributions (RMDs)Asterisk * Traditional IRA Yes Roth IRA Not if you are the original account holder Move to New Employer's Plan Generally not, if you are still workingFootnote 5 Stay in Former Employer's Plan Yes
Fees
What are the fees? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA Online Investing and Trading
(Self-Directed Investing)

No annual account fee for online investing and trading accounts, but account closure, transaction and investment fees may apply

Merrill Guided Investing
A 0.45% annual program feeFootnote 6 for the Merrill Guided Investing account; other fees may apply*

Merrill Edge Select® Portfolios
A 0.85% annual program feeFootnote 7 for a Merrill Edge Select® Portfolios account; other fees may apply*
Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Varies by plan
Other
Are assets protected from creditors? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA In federal bankruptcies, but state laws vary Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Yes
Is there an account minimum? Traditional IRA or Roth IRA No Move to New Employer's Plan or Stay in Former Employer's Plan Varies by plan
Make the most of your assets in a former employer's retirement plan.
*Sales are subject to a transaction fee of $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. There are costs associated with owning ETFs as well as mutual funds. Annual program fees include portfolio management and trading costs, as well as ongoing support. In addition to the annual program fee, the mutual funds and ETFs within each program have their own expenses, as would individual securities. Other fees not included in the annual program fee may include those mandated by the SEC; transfer, exchange and fund-redemption fees; conditional deferred sales charges; and markups or markdowns. For full fee details, please refer to the ADV brochure for the relevant program available at either Merrill Guided Investing program brochure (PDF) or Merrill Edge Advisory Account Program brochure (PDF). Where possible, institutional mutual fund class shares are used to minimize expenses.

What about a lump-sum distribution?

You may also consider taking a lump-sum distribution from your old employer-sponsored plan if you're facing extraordinary financial circumstances, but this option comes at a high price. Any pretax contributions and associated earnings will be taxed as ordinary income, plus you may be subject to an early withdrawal tax of 10% if you are under age 59½ (unless an exception applies). Your distribution generally will also be subject to a mandatory 20% federal income tax withholding.
Help when you want it
Turn to us for step-by-step guidance when you have questions or need help getting the most out of your investing
experience. Meet with a local Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor™ to help you get on track and stay on track.
Call 24/7
888.637.3343
to speak with a Merrill Edge
rollover specialist
Asterisk * If you were age 70½ or older as of 12/31/2019, you would be required to take a required minimum distribution ("RMD") for 2019. Effective 1/1/2020, in accordance with new legislation, the required beginning date for RMDs for individuals who turn age 70½ on or after 1/1/20 is age 72. You may defer your first RMD until April 1st in the year after you turn age 70½ or 72, as applicable, but then you'd be required to take two distributions in that year.

Please review the Merrill Guided Investing Program Brochure at Merrill Guided Investing program brochure (PDF) for important information including pricing, rebalancing, and the details of the investment advisory program.