Email FacebookTwitterMenu burgerClose thin

Can a 457(b) Retirement Plan Roll Over to an IRA?


A 457(b) retirement plan is a tax-advantaged saving scheme available to government and certain non-profit employees. It allows participants to defer income taxes on retirement savings until the funds are withdrawn. Whereas, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are retirement accounts that provide tax advantages for retirement savings, offering tax-free growth or on a tax-deferred basis. Taking a closer look at the 457(b) plan and IRA, we can see their nuances in terms of tax advantages, flexibility and investment choices. If you’re considering a rollover you may want to first pick the brain of a financial advisor to understand how it could impact your finances. 

What Is a 457(b) Rollover?

Imagine if you leave your job and want to transfer your retirement savings to a more preferred plan. A 457(b) rollover refers to the process of moving funds from a 457(b) retirement plan to another qualified retirement account, such as an IRA. This move can be advantageous for a number of reasons, such as consolidating retirement savings, potentially accessing a broader range of investment options and in some cases, reducing administrative fees.

The rollover process typically involves initiating a request with your plan administrator, selecting the right type of IRA for your needs and then transferring funds from your 457(b) plan to the new IRA. This process can be complex and requires an understanding of the rollover rules, tax implications and potential benefits. Understanding the flexibilities of a 457(b) rollover can empower you to make decisions that align better with your financial goals, thereby easing your management of retirement savings.

Rollover Rules for a 457(b) Plan

To ensure a smooth transition and avoid any unnecessary penalties or taxes, understanding the rules governing a 457(b) rollover is crucial. Not all 457(b) plans allow for rollovers, and when they do, the rollover has to be made into another eligible retirement plan. In some cases, certain conditions such as not completing the rollover within 60 days might mark it as a distribution, which is a taxable event. This means that the transferred amount might be subject to taxes. 

457(b) Rollovers and Taxes

A couple trying to research if they can rollover their 457 to an IRA

The movement of funds from a 457(b) plan to an IRA, typically tax-free if completed within 60 days, is actually shifting money from one tax-advantaged account to another. However, any distributions taken before age 59.5 from the IRA may incur a 10% early withdrawal penalty. 

Benefits of Rolling a 457(b) Plan Into an IRA

Rolling a 457(b) plan into an IRA can provide potential benefits that might make the move very enticing to you now or later. Here are some of the most popular benefits of rolling a 457(b) account into an IRA.

  • Investment Options: You may be able to invest in a wider range of investments with a different tax-advantaged account. 
  • Tax Deferral Benefits: With the right account you won’t have to pay taxes until you withdraw the funds. 
  • Tax Deductions: You’ll need to open an IRA to transfer your 457(b) into. You can make additional contributions into your IRA, and may be able to claim a deduction for them.

How this could benefit you is going to vary based on your situation, which is why you may want to talk it over with a professional. 

Can You Rollover a 457(b) Plan While Still Employed?

What if you want to roll over a 457(b) plan but you’re still working for the same employer? The concept of “in-service rollover” comes into the picture here, which allows for such a transition. However, the rules for in-service rollovers are complex and can vary depending on the specifics of your 457(b) plan. This is an important question to ask a professional who can analyze your individual situation and plan documents. 

Bottom Line

A man trying to figure out how to rollover his 457(b) retirement account to an IRA

Understanding the process, rules and implications of rolling over a 457(b) retirement plan into an IRA will help ensure you make an informed decision. It’s important to assess your individual circumstances, consider the potential benefits, understand the tax implications and consult with professionals for personalized advice that suits your financial landscape. When conducted appropriately, a rollover from a 457(b) plan to an IRA can offer greater investment flexibility, potential tax benefits and simplified account management. 

Tips for Retirement Planning

  • If you’re planning for retirement income you may want to enlist the help of a financial advisor. The right professional can help make an investment plan to grow your wealth so you hit your financial goals. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now
  • You may want to use a tool like a retirement calculator to help you understand how much you need to save for retirement and whether you’re on track or not. 

Photo credit: ©, ©, ©