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I'm not sure I understand how you are defining new personal retirement account and a personal IRA account. For starters, may I suggest you visit the Fool retirement area at . The following link will discuss tax issues associated with 401k's and IRA.
Look about half way down the page for these links.

· New Job, Old 401(k)?
· IRA Rollovers vs. Transfers - Rollovers
· IRA Rollovers vs. Transfers - Transfers
· IRA Rollovers vs. Transfers - The Rules

The general rules however are that pre-tax funds from a 401k must be rolled over into a traditional IRA, often called a conduit IRA or rollover IRA, or the funds will be taxed as ordinary income and in addition will incur a penalty if you are younger than 59.5 years. If the funds are distributed to you directly you have 60 days to put them into an IRA to avoid the penalty and taxes. Generally, however, taxes will be withheld from the distribution so you will have to make up the difference or be taxed on the amount of the withholding.
A traditional IRA can be converted to a Roth IRA with the advantage being that the gains from the IRA will not be taxed when you withdraw them after age 59.5. The disadvantage is that you will have to pay taxes now on the funds converted.

Hope this helps.
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