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Cash out my inactive 401k-?

My 401K account is no longer active since my current division has moved to Dubai, and no longer participates in any pension programs, but still an active employee with the main company- is it possible to cash out, or will my money just be sitting there until I retire?

Jan 08, 2015 by Antonio in  |  Flag
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Peter C. Karp Level 20

Antonio

Since you are still an active employee with the main company you should check with the HR Department and find out if you can continue to contribute to the 401(k) plan. It really depends on the plan document and how the various divisions are participating in the plan. If it turns out they are terminating the 401(k) you will have some distribution options available. If the plan remains in force and you are still an employee, you would not be able to withdraw funds unless the plan offers a loan provision until you retire or terminate employment. I would also recommend that you speak with the financial advisor for the plan.

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Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 09, 2015 from San Francisco, CA

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Assuming your 401K plan is one administered at the parent corp. level, then you should be able to continue to contribute and for most plans, unless you separate from service, you cannot move your balances or otherwise withdraw (unless via loan or for hardship purposes if allowed). But whether or not you can add to it, your investments should continue to earn (or lose) money depending on the investment choices you have made...i.e. the money will not just "sit there".

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 08, 2015 from Fort Washington, PA

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It's hard to say for sure. If it is the same employer, then you might not have the option to withdraw funds. If you have been notified that the Plan is folding, then you may be able to remove funds.

The best thing to do is contact your HR department for further information on the status if the plan.

And if you do decide to "cash out", you should strongly consider either rolling it into your current 401K or an IRA account (to avoid taxes and/or penalties).

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 08, 2015 from Mystic, CT

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I think you need to talk to HR first. They will give you an idea of what you can/can't do. If they are not helpful you can also talk to your 401k custodian and they might be able to give you insight into whether or not you can roll over the balance of your 401k or continue contributing.

In my professional opinion, you should consider talking to a local Certified Financial Planner before you move any of your 401k funds anywhere. They should be able to provide you with sound advice on how to proceed.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 08, 2015 from St. Louis, MO

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The first thing I would suggest is to call the plan administrator at the number shown on a recent statement or at your online account portal to ask the question. There are several unknowns in the fact set presented, such as whether the plan was sponsored by a parent company or the subsidiary you worked for. We also don't know if your own legal employer has changed from the business subsidiary to the parent company, which can be seen in your paystub. Cashing out would incur income tax plus a 10% excise tax on pre-tax amounts. Other options include retaining the account as is, performing a rollover to the parent company's plan, if it has a different plan, performing a rollover to a former employer's plan account, if you have one, or performing a direct rollover to an IRA established at another financial institution. Your rollover options would ordinarily avoid incurring any income or excise tax. If you are in need of the money due to hardship, you may be entitled to hardship withdrawals without excise tax, for which you should consult the plan administrator.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 08, 2015 from Fairfax, VA

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