What happens to my 401(k) if I leave my employer?

If you leave your current employer, you have several options for your Betterment 401(k) account. You may be able to leave your account with your former employer’s plan until you reach retirement age. If you have a lower account balance, you may need to decide sooner where you want benefits sent.

You also have the opportunity to roll over your benefit to a new employer’s retirement plan or to your own IRA account. You can also opt to cash out all or a portion of your account, but should review the tax impact and penalties you may incur if under age 59 ½. You can see more information about distributions you may be eligible for by selecting your 401(k) account in the withdrawal menu.

Generally, participants who choose to take their termination distribution as a cash distribution are subject to a 20% federal income tax withholding and any applicable state income tax withholding, which may or may not cover the tax bill (your income taxes related to this withdrawal) and any applicable early withdrawal penalties.

Betterment is not a tax advisor; consider consulting a tax advisor about your specific situation.