The instructions I'm looking at (on how to roll over a 401(k) to an IRA) say that I should open a new traditional IRA account. I have one that I've used for a rollover in the past (it was created to accommodate the rollover). Is there any reason I can't use this same one for this rollover, or do I really need to open a new traditional IRA for this?

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    Are the instructions from your employer?
    – D Stanley
    Aug 18 '20 at 15:55

From the IRS's point of view, you can use an existing IRA. The instructions may just assume that the reader does not already have an IRA, and hopefully the benefits department knows how to set up the rollover to an existing IRA. All they should need is an address to send the check to and the destination account number (they may ask for more than that just to make sure everything aligns, but they shouldn't need to know if the account is new or not).


The best way to do the rollover is not by getting HR of your previous employer to do the rollover (as the answer you have accepted recommends) but to tell your IRA custodian that you have money in your now-dormant 401(k) account. Give the IRA custodian the details of your 401(k) account and tell it "Go get 'em, Bears!" and your IRA custodian will do all the work for you. Remember that the IRA custodian is eager to get its hands on new money and will do everything in its power to expedite the process, whereas the 401(k) administrator will be having money going out the door and has every incentive to delay for as long as possible. If you go to your IRA website, you will find detailed information on the process and links that will walk you through the process.

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    Wouldn't I have to either give them my login creds, or a power of attorney?
    – HorseHair
    Aug 18 '20 at 22:43
  • In principle correct, but in practice it doesn't work. They are simply not able to do anything except - at best - get the respective form printed and mail it to you. Source: 3 different times tried, 3 failures.
    – Aganju
    Aug 19 '20 at 0:55
  • @Aganju Maybe not for you but I too have done this three times and it worked like a charm every time. Well, my experiences are from ten years ago and more, and maybe the rules are different now. Aug 19 '20 at 2:15
  • @HH-ApologizetoCaroleBaskin No need to give your IRA custodian your login credentials for your 401(k) website, and such power of attorney that you give (often not explicitly but implicitly) is a limited power of attorney to do just this one task on your behalf, not a general power of attorney to take over your entire life and drain your bank accounts etc. Aug 19 '20 at 13:10

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