Other times, it can make your life more complicated, and you may want to merge some or all of the accounts into a single large account, where you can better keep track of your retirement investments.Generally speaking, it’s easy to merge retirement plans, and to do so without incurring penalties.
Let’s say you have $10,000 sitting in an IRA account, and the trustee issues a check for the proceeds directly to you.
If they withhold 20%, your check will be for just $8,000.
Moral of the story: Never use a 60 day rollover method unless there is absolutely no other option. This is the rollover method you should use anytime you can, as it is the simplest way to merge IRA accounts, and creates virtually zero chance of incurring income taxes or early withdrawal penalties.
Under direct transfer, you simply complete the required paperwork that will enable your previous IRA trustee to make a direct transfer of IRA account proceeds into the new IRA trustee account.
The need to merge Roth IRA accounts isn’t typically a problem, if only because the plans haven’t existed nearly as long as they have for IRAs and 401(k)s.
In addition, Roth IRA plans are not typically destination accounts for employer plan distributions the way traditional IRA accounts are.
When that time comes, just be sure the other accounts you’re rolling the IRA into is the best plan of the batch.
It should offer the widest investment selection, at the lowest price.
Under this method of transfer, you actually take possession of the funds from your previous plan — that is, the distribution of the plan funds are sent directly to you.
Once that happens, you’ll have 60 days to complete the rollover to another IRA, or the proceeds will become taxable and, if you are under age 59 ½, you’ll also be subject to the 10% early withdrawal penalty.
Of greater consideration perhaps, is whether or not you even should merge 401(k) accounts.