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FAQs

Answers to your most important questions about what we do

The basics

What's a 401(k) rollover?
It’s the technical term for the money you transfer from a 401(k) to another retirement account, like an IRA. It’s what most people choose to do with the money they’ve saved in their 401(k) account when leaving a job. A rollover is different to a withdrawal, which is when you pull your money out of a 401(k) and pay taxes on it. A rollover is tax-free because your money stays in a retirement account.
Why do people do 401(k) rollovers?
If you recently left a job where you had a 401(k) account, it can be a good idea to roll over those savings into an IRA or a new 401(k). You can also consolidate multiple 401(k)s or IRAs. That way you can keep track of your retirement assets in one place, and make sure you’re not paying too much in fees.
What's the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA?

A 401(k) is a type of retirement account that’s provided by companies. You can only get it if your company provides it. Most of the contributions to it are from your paycheck, though sometimes an employer makes ‘matching’ contributions. When you leave the company you lose your ability to make contributions to it.

An IRA is short for “individual retirement account”. It’s a type of account that you can open on your own, and doesn’t depend on your employer. It’s also an account where you can transfer any 401(k) savings you accumulated at a prior job. Think of it as a big pot that you pour your 401(k) gold into over time.

How can I do a rollover?
That’s where we come in. We manage every step of the rollover process for you, from locating your 401(k) to opening a new IRA and handling the transfer.
What if I don't know where my 401(k) is?

Try our 401(k) search tool! We’ve compiled a database of over 60,000 employers and their 401(k) providers. Start by searching for your employer name to determine your 401(k) provider.

If we don’t have your employer on file, our team of rollover experts will help you track it down if you decide to do a 401(k) rollover with us.

I'm not 100% sure if I had a 401(k) at my old job. How can I check?

A quick way to find out if you had a 401(k) is by checking your W-2 forms from previous tax returns. If you contributed to a 401(k), you’ll usually see an amount in Box 12 of your W-2 from that employer. 401(k) contributions will typically show up with letter code D.

You can also try reaching out to someone in the HR department at your previous job to confirm if you had a 401(k) plan set up.

Can I transfer my old 401(k) account to a new 401(k) account?
If you are currently enrolled in a 401(k) plan then that plan provider might allow you to transfer in old 401(k) plans. It generally takes longer to do than a rollover into an IRA and you’ll be subject to the fees and investment choices negotiated by your employer.
Should I rollover into an IRA or my new employer's 401(k) plan?
Everyone’s situation is different, so there’s no one size fits all answer to this question but more people roll over into IRAs than 401(k)s. You can find more detail here.
Can I just cash out my old 401(k)?
Taking an early distribution from your 401(k) is an option, especially if you need money quickly in an emergency. Keep in mind that you’ll likely pay taxes and penalties on your withdrawal, and this decision may negatively impact your financial readiness for retirement.
Can you help me rollover all my old 401(k) accounts?
Yes, we can help with that! When you sign up for our service, you can add multiple 401(k)s to rollover. Then, our team will be in touch to guide you through each plan’s rollover process!
Will I have to pay taxes or penalties for rolling over my 401(k) account?
Rollovers from a 401(k) are generally tax-free.
How long does the rollover process take?
The exact processing time of a rollover depends on the 401(k) institution involved — it can vary from a few days to a few weeks.
Can I rollover my 401(k) into a SEP IRA?
Typically, yes, but the process can vary. It’s important to understand your IRA provider’s requirements before initiating a transfer — we can help track down those requirements and get your rollover processed!
I have a Roth IRA — can I move my 401(k) into that?
Yes, but the process is a little more complicated than a typical rollover. Moving money from a traditional 401(k) to a Roth IRA is usually a two-step process: first, you’ll move your Traditional 401(k) to a Traditional IRA. Then, your IRA provider will move your Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA (this is known as a “Roth Conversion”). Keep in mind that most Roth conversions are taxable, so it’s a good idea to talk to a tax professional if you decide to go down this path.
What's the difference between a Roth and a Traditional IRA?
The key difference between Roth and Traditional IRAs is when you get your tax break. In a Traditional IRA, your contributions are tax-free and you won’t pay taxes on the money until the time of withdrawal. In a Roth IRA, it’s the opposite — you’ll pay taxes on your contributions into the account but your withdrawals are tax-free.

Our service

Why use Capitalize?
We’re a free, independent platform to roll over your 401(k). We manage the entire process — from finding your old 401(k) to opening a new IRA and dealing with your 401(k) provider for you.
Can I use Capitalize to consolidate multiple 401(k)s or IRAs?
Absolutely! We’ll start by helping you pick a new rollover IRA, and then we’ll help you transfer each of your old 401(k)s or IRAs into that new account.
What information do I have to give Capitalize?
We ask for a little information to locate your old 401(k) account, like the name of your 401(k) provider or old employer. We also ask you about your preferences to help compare relevant IRA choices. If you decide to proceed with your rollover then we sometimes have to ask for some personal information, like your date of birth and address, in order to communicate with your 401(k) provider on your behalf.
What criteria does Capitalize use to evaluate IRAs?
We use criteria like fees, public rating scores (where available), and then our own review of ease of use, customer support, and investment philosophy.
What if I already know where I want to transfer my 401(k)?
We can still help you transfer your 401(k) into the IRA you want.
Can you help me rollover into my current employer's 401(k) plan?
We aren’t set up to help you roll into a new employer’s 401(k) plan yet, but we’re happy to provide insight on the process! First, you’ll contact your new 401(k) provider and let them know you’d like to process a rollover. Then, they’ll take you through next steps (which usually involves some paperwork!)

Our business model

How is Capitalize free? How does Capitalize make money?
If you choose to open up an IRA with one of the providers on our platform then we may be compensated. This helps us keep the service free for users, but none of those providers is ever allowed to impact the content on our site. It also never affects the fees you pay as a customer. If you’ve ever used a site like Nerdwallet, Credit Karma or Lending Tree then you’ll be familiar with this model. Our reputation depends on you feeling like we provide an honest, independent product.
Why don't you just charge users directly?
We started Capitalize to help people take control of their retirement savings. It’s hard to get motivated to do that when there’s so much else going on, particularly when you’re changing jobs or have multiple 401(k)s lying around. We found that charging people money for help at this juncture just adds another hurdle that prevents them from taking action.
Is Capitalize a financial advisor?
No, Capitalize itself is not a financial or tax advisor. We provide general opinions & financial information that you can use to make decisions. We also act in an administrative capacity to help you with any rollover-related tasks.
Not sure where your old 401(k) is? We can help with that.
Don't lose track of your money. We'll help you choose a new retirement account, and handle the paperwork, for free.