How do I rollover a 401k into an IRA? If you leave your job, you have a number of things you can do with your 401k.

The absolute dumbest thing you can do is cash it out. Because if you take the money, you have to pay taxes on the money, and more than likely you will have to pay a 10% penalty. You also diminish your retirement savings.

If you have at least $5000, the law says your employer has to let you leave it there if you want.

OR…you can rollover your 401k into an IRA or another 401k.

If this is what you choose to do, then you want make sure you NEVER touch the money! You need to do a trustee-to-trustee transfer. You would need to contact the company that runs your IRA plan to initiate this. That is the safest easiest way.

Another ugly option would be to have the your previous company write you a check. But they will withhold 20% for income taxes. You will get the 20% back when you file your income taxes. But the problem is that in the meantime, you are required to deposit 100% of the balance from your previous employers 401k plan into the new account within 60 days. But since the IRS is holding 20%, you only have 80% of the balance. You would have to come up with the remain 20% to deposit into the new account, or pay taxes and penalties on the missing 20%.

401k plan rollovers can be tricky! Be careful. Talk to the plan admistrators, and make sure you understand your choices!