How to Combine IRA Accounts

Investors may have more than one Individual Retirement Account (IRA) at different custodians for various reasons. One may be a rollover IRA opened with 401k money after the investor left a job. Another might have been opened to put money in one particular type of investment. Yet another may have been opened conveniently at the contribution deadline to get the tax deduction when filing taxes. An investor can combine IRA assets to reduce custodial fees and simplify record keeping.

Look at each year-end statement to determine what custodian you want to move all money into. The choice may hinge on annual fees, investment performance or variety of investment options.

Meet with the IRA custodian that you want all IRA funds to transfer into. Keep in mind that if you are dissatisfied with all custodians, you can find a new custodian through a bank, brokerage firm or insurance company.

Obtain one transfer form for each IRA that is coming into the existing IRA account at that firm.

Fill out each form with your name, address, Social Security number and date of birth. Complete each form using the account information from each year-end statement, including the account number, the custodian's name and address.

Sign and submit the forms to the representative assisting you. Give the representative a copy of each year-end statement (or let them make copies for you) to submit with each transfer form, confirming the transferring account. It takes three to six weeks to complete transfers.

Tips

  • Make sure your name is listed the same on each account with a correct address of record. Differences in names and addresses may cause the transfer to be rejected. If you find discrepancies, contact the IRA custodian with the account needing adjustments and file any paperwork to correct mistakes. Do this prior to submitting transfer paperwork.

    If an IRA is funded with rollover 401k or 403b funds, you have the option to roll these funds into a new employer plan. Not every administrator allows this, but many do. If you comingle contributory IRAs and rollover IRAs, you no longer have this option.

References

About the Author

With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.