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How do I withdraw or roll over 401(k) funds from Guideline?
How do I withdraw or roll over 401(k) funds from Guideline?

This guide shares step-by-step directions on how to withdraw your 401(k) balance for a cashout or rollover distribution.

Updated over a week ago

If you’d like to request a withdrawal (cash distribution) or roll over your Guideline 401(k) funds to another provider, you should first confirm which types of distributions you may qualify for (if any). Your specific 401(k) plan and IRS restrictions may limit your withdrawal options before you leave your employer or reach retirement age.

→ Find out if you qualify for a withdrawal or rollover here.

How to start a withdrawal or outbound rollover

If you are eligible for a distribution, then a banner should appear at the top of your Guideline dashboard. ​You can initiate a cash distribution or outbound rollover to a new provider by selecting the “Choose Rollover Option” button.

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Note, if the distribution banner does not appear, then you are likely not eligible for a distribution at this time. Find out why this may be the case below.

Before moving forward with your request, we'll ask you to verify your information, so we can keep in touch with you during this process. Then, you'll be able to select your distribution option.

The first three options presented will allow you to keep your funds within Guideline. However, if you'd still like to move forward with a distribution, select the "See other options" button at the bottom.

Options for removing your funds from Guideline

Outbound rollover:

If you’d like to complete an outbound rollover, then select the option for "Roll your funds into another 401(k), IRA, or other qualified retirement provider." You'll then be able to choose whether you'd like the check mailed directly to the receiving financial institution or to your address.

Depending on your selection, you'll need to add the details for sending your check.

Cash distribution:

If you’d like to complete a cashout withdrawal of your 401(k) funds, select the option to "Request a cash distribution.” Note, this option will result in mandatory withholdings on any pre-tax amount. Additionally, you’ll be subject to an early withdrawal penalty if you are under 59 ½ years of age and don’t meet the requirements for an exception.

If you take a cash distribution, you can avoid the taxation and possible penalties by indirectly rolling over the money to an IRA or another retirement plan within 60 days of receiving the check. However, you will need to make up any tax withholding out of pocket to avoid taxes and penalties. The plan is unable to refund any tax withholding; that amount may be refunded with your tax filing depending on your circumstances.

After reading the disclosures and entering any required information, you can then choose to receive your funds via direct deposit or a check mailed to your address on file

Distribution timeline

Processing time for withdrawals and roll overs is typically 7-10 business days, though timelines can vary based on your selections. Check out our distribution timeline for more details on processing.

Why do I not have the option to withdraw or roll over funds?

If you believe you meet one of the IRS allowable reasons for a distribution but still do not see the above banner and Distribution section, there can be a number of reasons why.

If you are in the midst of leaving or recently left the company that sponsors the 401(k) plan, the employer will need to update your employment status to “terminated” in payroll before you’ll be eligible. In this case, you can reach out to your former employer and refer them to this article regarding updating your employment status.

Additionally, if there is a pending or unprocessed payroll transaction in your account, you will have to wait until the transaction is complete before the distribution banner will be visible on your dashboard.

Looking to move outside funds into a Guideline account?

Check out our inbound rollover guide.

¹ If your request is going to a foreign address you will need to upload form W-8BEN or W-9 (based on your citizenship) via the Shared Files folder within your Guideline account. In addition, there may be mandatory federal withholding applied to your distribution.

The information provided herein is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for specific financial advice that considers all relevant facts and circumstances. You are advised to consult a qualified financial adviser to determine a strategy that fits your needs.

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