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What Happens to a 401(k) After You Leave Your Job?

| MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA
min read


Ask the expert Q: Do I lose 401(k) retirement money if I leave my employer?

In cases where your 401(k) balance is low enough that you can be forced out of the plan, the employer may do so with as little as 30 days' notice.

If your employer distributes a check to you rather than rolling your balance into another qualified retirement plan, you have 60 days from receipt of that check to deposit the money into a qualified plan yourself. Otherwise, that money would be subject to income tax -- and, if you are under age 59 1/2, it would be subject to a 10 percent penalty as well.

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