I Need To Change My IRA Company, Where Do I Begin?
Ideally, the company that is your first choice for your IRA will manage all of it. Over time, you’ll become a little like friends, with you learning to trust them. and the company appreciating you as a client and looking out for your best interests.
That’s not always the case.
Sometimes, for one reason or another, we need to switch IRA companies. This could be due to simpler things, such as moving to another state, or due to deeper problems between you and your provider. Regardless, you need a new company and don’t know where to start. In that case, we’re here to help.
First: You can’t just take your money and go
IRAs are structured in a particular way. The money you put in your IRA generally isn’t taxed as earnings, instead of being tax-free until you withdraw it.
If you withdraw your money and investments from your IRA, the IRS will receive a report on that – and you’ll be taxed. Even if you immediately put it into another IRA. As such, the first thing you have to do is not to follow your instinct and ask your current company to give you everything. Instead, go through proper, established channels.
Second: Choose your new company
Since you can’t be in possession of your savings without risking getting taxed for them before you close your old account you need to open a new one. And in order to open a new one, you have to do your homework and look into companies.
Don’t just jump with the first one you see. Actually, look into them – what they offer, how they offer it, and their track record. Everything matters.
Once you have chosen the company, open the new IRA and ask them about transferring your savings from your old IRA to the new one. In some cases, there will be paperwork to fill, and they’ll inform you about the steps.
Third: Arrange the move
You should never be in physical possession of your IRA savings during the process. A move should ideally happen directly between custodians, which in this case means company to company. Thanks to electronic banking, such moves can be automatically done these days, and in many cases, you’ll only need to provide the new custodian’s data.
Make sure your old custodian is transferring everything – get a document stating just how much is in your IRA, both in money and other savings, before the transfer takes place. Also, inform yourself on any fees the move might incur.
In some cases, IRA providers will make the transfer via check. In those cases you might be asked to deliver the check to the new provider yourself, or even deposit it yourself into your new IRA account.
You’re allowed to do this as long as you do it in no more than two weeks, and as long as the check is issued to the new custodian and not to you personally.
Fourth: Wait for the transfer
Since IRA providers are in contact with the IRS, you don’t need to contact the IRS yourself. Once your holdings appear in your new account, you can feel free to close the old one and go on with your life.
At this point, the process has been completed, and you have successfully moved your savings into a new account.
Following the processes above is the way to go in order to ensure that you change your IRA company without tears.