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Typically, the 401(k) is converted into a "rollover IRA" by the investment institution where you create the account. The firm will handle the rollover details. If you want to consolidate the accounts, you can do so, however, were you ever rehired by the original employers, consolidating funds would prevent you from putting the money back into the employer's 401(k) (not that you would ever want to do this).
Re accounts that you can manage yourself, there are dozens of companies that do this (e.g., www.fidelity.com) Note: this is not a recommendation of an investment firm. It's just an example.
Hope this helps.
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A rollover IRA is no different than any other IRA, except that it is intended to receive 401(k) funds, which are not inteded to be commingled with ordinary annual IRA contributions (e.g., contributions by a worker who has no employer-sponsored plan).
Penalty for early withdrawal before 59.5 years is 10% and the withdrawal is treated as ordinary income -- exactly as with any other IRA.
Yes, there is, but you can take distributions from any IRA account to pay for qualified higher education, prior to reaching 59.5, without incurring the 10% penalty.
You mean that if I were to say that I'm a tax attorney in my profile (which I am, among other things) that you would believe me to be sufficiently expert?
My answers are acccurate. But, I don't want to disuade you from getting an answer from a real expert, so I will bow out.
Sorry, but when you sent your "thank you," it put this correspondence back into my inbox. Plese don't respond to this, so that the process can move forward.
Thanks for your cooperation.