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How to invest

Rolling over an employer plan? See how to move your assets to an IRA

3:39 minutes
January 06, 2023
How to invest
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401k rollovers

Changing jobs doesn’t have to mean leaving retirement assets behind. By rolling over your accounts, you can help manage your money and track progress toward your retirement.

This 3-minute walkthrough of the online application shows you how to roll over an employer-sponsored plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), to a Vanguard IRA®.

How to roll over your employer plan to Vanguard


We’re excited you’re rolling over an employer-sponsored plan to a Vanguard individual retirement account, also known as an IRA.

In this short video, we’ll go over the process.

As you roll over your employer plan, here are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you’ll select a new or existing Vanguard IRA to receive the assets.

Then you’ll contact the financial firm from your employer plan to let them know you are rolling over your employer plan to Vanguard.

Once you’ve met the firm’s requirements, they’ll process your rollover, sending a check to you or the money directly to Vanguard.

Just keep in mind, your assets will likely roll over to Vanguard as cash so be sure to select investments once your assets arrive.

Starting the process online will only take you about 10 minutes.

Make sure you have the username, password, and an account statement from your previous firm. You may need these to complete your rollover.

To start your rollover, select the Open an account option on investor.vanguard.com. Under How can we get you started?, choose Roll over an employer plan, such as a 401(k).

If you’re new, continue with I’m new to Vanguard, to create your secure login.

You may also want more information about the rollover process, so be sure to click on the frequently asked questions on each page.

You can also learn how to send us the money. But don’t worry, there are a few ways it can make its way to Vanguard.

To continue with your rollover, if you don’t have a Vanguard secure login, you’ll need to register for web access to create your account and login credentials.

Once you’ve registered, or if you’re already a Vanguard client, here’s where we’ll ask you where your retirement money is located to better assist you with the rollover process.

Then, choose the type of assets you’re rolling over. You can log in to your employer plan or refer to a previous account statement to see which type of assets you have.

And let us know how much money you’re rolling over. It doesn’t have to be the exact amount. We just need an estimate.

The last thing to do is open a rollover IRA or Roth IRA to receive your assets. Or choose an existing account if you already have one.

If this is a new account, you’ll then answer a few regulatory questions about employment, income, net worth, and financial goals.

You can review what you’ve entered to make sure everything is correct, agree to terms and conditions, and then contact the financial firm holding your employer plan.

You may need a Letter of Acceptance from Vanguard, which you can get at this point in the process.

Once the other firm processes the rollover, they’ll send us the money to deposit into your rollover IRA. Or they’ll mail you a check.

If you receive a check from your employer plan, use Vanguard’s mobile app to conveniently deposit it. Or mail it to us.

Checks payable to you must be deposited within 60 days to avoid taxes and/or penalties. Reach out to a tax advisor if you need more assistance.

And remember, once the money arrives in your IRA, you can invest it.

Thank you! We look forward to partnering with you on your financial journey.

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All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

There are important factors to consider when rolling over assets to an IRA or an employer retirement plan account, or leaving assets in an employer retirement plan account. These factors include, but are not limited to, investment options in each type of account, fees and expenses, available services, potential withdrawal penalties, protection from creditors and legal judgments, required minimum distributions, and tax consequences of rolling over employer stock to an IRA.