What Is A Rollover IRA?

Table of Сontents

  1. Rollover IRA Definition
  2. Traditional IRAs vs. Rollover IRA Rules
  3. Direct vs. Indirect IRA Rollover
  4. How To Open a Rollover IRA
  5. Rollover Roth 401k to a Roth IRA
  6. Rolling an IRA into a 401k
  7. Bottom Line
  8. FAQs

You may take control of your retirement savings by transferring money from your 401(k) to an IRA.

Rollover IRA Definition

An employer-sponsored retirement account, such as a 401k, can be moved monies into a rollover individual retirement account (IRA). Changing employment, going into business for oneself, or retiring can all result in money leaving an employer’s 401k plan.

There are several reasons to transfer money to a Rollover IRA, including:


  • A Rollover IRA may charge lower fees than an employee’s 401k plan.
  • IRAs typically offer more investment options than a 401k plan, such as stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), exchange-traded funds ((ETFs)) and real estate investment trusts (REITs).
  • Employees who have worked for several companies and may have more than one 401k account can consolidate all their retirement funds into a single Rollover IRA.
  • IRAs offer more flexibility when it comes to withdrawing money than a 401k account.

Traditional IRAs vs. Rollover IRA Rules

Traditional IRAs and Rollover IRAs are distinct in some respects and similar in others.

Traditional & Rollover IRA Basics

  • financed using pre-tax money.
  • It is beneficial to take withdrawals beyond age 59.5 even if they are taxed as regular income since retirees frequently find themselves in a lower tax band than they did when they were working.
  • Withdrawals made before the age of 59.5 are not only subject to taxation, but also to an early withdrawal penalty of 10%.
  • Whether the account holder is still employed or not, they must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) when they turn 72. Prior to December 2019, RMDs had to start at age 70.5; however, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act removed this requirement.

Rollover IRA Contribution Limits

While Traditional IRAs are subject to yearly contribution restrictions, which in 2022 are $6,000 per year or $7,000 for individuals 50 years of age or older, Rollover IRAs have no cap on the amount that may be rolled over.

Direct vs. Indirect IRA Rollover

The two types of rollovers are direct and indirect.

Direct Rollover

  • A worker asks their 401(k) plan administrator to move their money straight into a Rollover IRA.
  • Typically, the transfer is made electronically, and no taxes are withheld by the administrator.
  • The rollover is recorded on tax returns as a non-taxable transaction, and there are no penalties imposed.
  • The fact that the money in a 401k account is shielded from creditors and court judgements, as opposed to the money in an IRA, is one benefit it has over an IRA.

Indirect Rollover

  • One advantage a 401k account has over an IRA is that the funds are protected from creditors and court judgments as opposed to those in an IRA.
  • The administrator of the 401(k) plan is required by law to withhold 20% of the total amount to pay any potential taxes; this money cannot be repaid until the employee files their annual tax return.
  • The employee then has up to 60 days to move the money into a Traditional or Rollover IRA or it will be regarded as a distribution and subject to an early withdrawal penalty of 10% unless they are at least 59.5 years old.
  • The whole amount that was initially in the 401k account, including the missing 20%, must be transferred to the IRA, and that money must be paid for out of the employee’s own pocket.

How To Open a Rollover IRA

Here are the steps to creating an IRA:

Step 1: Decide Where To Open the IRA

You can pick from robo-advisors that provide investment suggestions, banks and investment businesses, or online brokerage companies that let you pick your own assets.

Step 2: Open an Account

You will be required to submit a list of beneficiaries, a copy of a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s licence or passport, as well as your name, address, contact information, date of birth, and Social Security number. If you are rolling over money, you will also need to fill out papers and provide information about the 401k account from which the money is coming.

Step 3: Fund the Account

Contact the administrator of your 401(k) plan if you want to fill the account with a cheque or an electronic transfer from a 401(k) account or a bank.

Rollover Roth 401k to a Roth IRA

A Roth IRA is another kind of IRA that is financed with after-tax funds. Some businesses provide after-tax funds are also used to finance their Roth 401k programmes.

  • Another IRA that is funded with post-tax money is a Roth IRA. Some companies offer after-tax money that is also used to support their Roth 401k plans.



  • Both Rollover IRAs and Traditional IRAs may be converted into Roth IRAs, but unless you employ a backdoor Roth IRA conversion, you’ll have to pay federal and potentially state taxes if you transfer money from a conventional 401k or Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA.
  • You can withdraw your contributions and any gains after age 59 tax-free if you keep a Roth IRA account open for at least five years and provided you satisfy all other conditions.
  • Roth IRAs are perfect for leaving money to heirs since they don’t need withdrawals during the account holder’s lifetime. The SECURE Act, however, mandates that those heirs must distribute funds over a 10-year period commencing with the account holder’s passing.


Rolling an IRA into a 401k

Most 401k plans, but not all, allow transfers from Traditional IRAs. The benefits and drawbacks of converting an IRA into a 401(k) include:


  • A 401(k) can start allowing withdrawals as early as age 55 provided they are spread out over at least five years, but an IRA requires you to wait until age 59.5.
  • Some 401(k) programmes offer free financial assistance, but for IRA counsel, you’ll need to hire a financial adviser or robo advisor.
  • While an IRA requires payouts to start at age 72, a 401(k) allows you to delay them until retirement if you’re still working.
  • 401k programmes provide protection from creditors, even when filing for bankruptcy. IRAs only provide protection up to $1,283,025, and this cap may change depending on the state.



  • A lot of 401k programmes have higher costs than an IRA.
  • With an IRA, you have access to a far larger range of investments, such as individual stocks and stock options.
  • A Roth IRA cannot be rolled over into a Traditional 401(k) or a Roth 401(k).
  • An IRA does not permit loans, although a 401k plan may.


Bottom Line

You may prepare for retirement using rollover, traditional, and Roth IRAs. The one drawback a Rollover IRA has over a Traditional IRA is that you cannot transfer funds from a Rollover IRA back into an employer-sponsored retirement plan while doing so with a Traditional IRA if you continue to make contributions.

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