My wife has a 401(k) with her employer that she has been contributing to for years. They recently switched administrators for the 401k, and the new outfit is simply terrible - bad fund choices and outrageous fees.

I would like to roll over her 401(k) into an IRA where I can manage the investment choices myself. I know we can do that if she were to quit her job, but can we do it while she is still employed there?

4 Answers 4


Unfortunately, It would be very unusual if you were able to roll a 401k out of your current employer.

Details are plan specific, so you should check with your plan administrator.

  • -1 It makes perfect sense for someone to move out of a losing plan. Just because it's unusual means nothing.
    – HorsE
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 0:57
  • 7
    It may make sense, but it's unusual for it to be permitted.
    – Alex B
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 1:22

If you meet the criteria, an In-Service Distribution would allow this. Take a look at this write up about the details: http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/in-service-distribution-401k-rollover-while-still-working/

  • 2
    Re: criteria. This is probably the deal-breaker for most people: " First things first, you HAVE to be 59 1/2. " ... Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 21:59
  • @Chris - yup, that would be a deal-breaker for us. Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 22:21
  • 1
    I'm not sure that's true, see here: brighthub.com/money/investing/articles/42909.aspx. "Of course, if you're under 59 1/2 you'll get hit with taxes and penalties, unless you roll your 401k account into an IRA." Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 0:16

The answer to your question in almost all cases is, "No.". You can only roll over a 401k to an IRA at the time you leave a company. There are some exceptions as noted by Dougman, but generally, there isn't a way to do this.


We're over 59.5 and we moved 250 K to an IRA and we're getting ready to do it again. the rules are clear and it is easy and available. Just because someone chimes in on the internet doesn't make them credible. You can do it. We have done it. One phone call.

  • 2
    Just because you've done it doesn't mean that someone else can do it, there are lots of caveats as to when you can roll over a 401k to an IRA, and "one phone call" may work with your particular provider (which you don't bother to mention) but not others.
    – blm
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 17:57
  • OP doesn't mention their ages. Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 10:42

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