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This question is similar to Moving current employer 401k balance into self-directed solo 401k?, but since I am not self-employed, I'm looking to move the money into a self-directed IRA rather than a solo 401k. The reason, of course, is that my company's 401k has very limited investment options.

How can I do this? And are there any restrictions to be aware of?

  • If you look closely at your companies plan there might be an option buried in there to open a brokerage account such as Fidelity, Td..., Schwab. Ask your company. It might be as simple as filling out some online forms, as it was for me. The only restriction on my plan is that I still keep a minimum amount in the original plan (in case I do something dumb trading stocks,so I won't be penniless). – fendermon Apr 14 '16 at 5:14
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    Are you still employed with the company that offers this 401(k)? – Ben Miller Apr 14 '16 at 12:09
  • You usually cannot rollover money from a 401k to an IRA unless your plan terminates or you leave the company. Is the question about moving from the 401k or about setting up the self-directed IRA? – user32479 Apr 14 '16 at 13:07
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Your question asks "how" but "if" may be your issue. Most companies will not permit an external transfer while still employed, or under a certain age, 55 or so.

If yours is one of the rare companies that permits a transfer, you simply open an IRA with the broker of your choice. Schwab, Fidelity, eTrade, or a dozen others. That broker will give you the paperwork you need to fill out, and they initiate the transfer.

I assume you want an IRA in which you can invest in stocks or funds of your choosing. A traditional IRA. The term "self-directed" has another meaning, often associated with the account that permits real estate purchases inside the account. The brokers I listed do not handle that, those custodians have a different business model and are typically smaller firms with fewer offices, not country-wide.

  • Can confirm. You will likely not be able to move money out of the plan unless you terminate employment or reach normal retirement age. – Chris Apr 14 '16 at 19:15

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