Let’s continue with the 401k/403b Rollover discussion. Previously, I explored some possible reasons to keep your old employer’s plan. The next option to consider (if only briefly) is to transfer your 401k/403b assets into your new employer’s retirement plan. You can only transfer after-tax contributions between the same type of account (401k » 401k, or 403b » 403b), but more common pre-tax contributions should be able to be transferred between different types as long as the new plan allows rollovers.
The reasons you might want to do an employer-to-employer transfer are very similar to before:
Special investment options
Maybe your new employer plan has some desirable options that aren’t available to a retail IRA investor. The average 401k has something like 7 mutual fund choices though, so this is probably unlikely. Ask your new HR department for details.
Lower minimum balances or fees
If you have a small balance and figure you might as well cash it out as you don’t meet other account minimums, don’t! Your new employer will probably have no minimum requirements and you can continue to build on what you have already contributed.
Ability to take out loans
Your new 401(k) may allow you to take out loans against your savings, which you can’t do with an IRA. In addition, if you already have a loan from your old 401(k), your new one may allow you transfer over that loan. Otherwise, most plans make you pay back the balance immediately or risk having it penalized as an unqualified withdrawal.
Still not sure? Another alternative is to roll your plan into a Rollover IRA, keeping it separate and not merging it with any other IRAs, and then see how you like your new employer’s plan. If somehow you do, then you can transfer the Rollover IRA assets into your new plan.
References: SmartMoney, American Funds