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ssir5 wrote:
<<* Then my previous employer will send me the CHEQUE.>>

This is certainly an option, BUT... you _must_ do things within 60 days, otherwise a severe total of taxes and penalties sets in. You can easily lose 50% of money when this happens.

Better would be to open the IRA first, the ask your IRA trustee what you need to do. They'll generally point you to a form or two, after which they'll request the transfer _directly_ from the 401(k) to the IRA. That way you avoid the possibility of the penalties.

And believe me, your trustee will be _very_ happy to help you with getting this exactly right.

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