>>>And now for the big what if. If I were to take all previous 401k plans and start an IRA (say through etrade), would I be liable for taxes and penalties? Am I only allowed to contribute 2k anually? Can I borrow from that account for a home loan. The home loan is probably the highest priority right now. I would like to create a new ira that I have control over, put as much into it anually (say 10% of salary), take advantage of company contributions by enrolling into their 401k fund, and most importantly be able to borrow from my new ira that (the one I set up)to pay for a down payment on a home.<<<<<<<would be nice......you CAN consolidate all your (reg., *not* Roth) IRAs and 401(k)'s into one IRA ...you may ONLY contrib $2k to ALL (not each) IRAs in anyyear --but rollovers aren't contributions. and that'sthe max. depending on income it can be less. dependingon income and 401K at next job, the 2K might not be deductible.currently there's a 10K limit on contribs to 401K.you may NOT borrow from IRA, only 401k and not all401K's, and for someone who changes jobs frequently, it's highly UN-recommended to borrow from the 401K.hope this helps....jp
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