Navigating the realm of retirement plans can be complex, particularly when you’re considering rolling over your previous employer’s retirement plan into a self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA). This type of rollover can offer more control over your retirement funds and a broader range of investment options. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through this process.

Understanding the Basics

Before you start the rollover process, it’s crucial to understand what it involves. A rollover is when you transfer your retirement savings from one account, like a 401(k), 403(b), 457, or a Defined Benefits plan, to another, typically an IRA, without incurring immediate taxes or penalties.

 Step 1: Contact Your Current Custodian

The first step in rolling over your previous employer plan to a self-directed IRA is to get in touch with the custodian of your current retirement plan. This could be the financial institution or the plan administrator where your employer’s plan is held.

Step 2: Request Rollover Documentation

Once you’ve made contact with your current custodian, ask them for their specific rollover documentation. This documentation is vital as it contains all the necessary forms and instructions to initiate the rollover process.

 Step 3: Provide Your New Account Number

Many custodians require your new IRA account number to process your rollover request. Make sure you’ve already set up your self-directed IRA and have this information handy. If you haven’t yet opened a new IRA, choose a reputable financial institution that offers self-directed options and complete their account setup process.

 Step 4: Complete and Return the Forms

After receiving the rollover documentation, carefully complete the forms. Ensure all the information is accurate to avoid any processing delays. This step typically involves providing details about your new self-directed IRA account.

Step 5: Await Response from Current Custodian

After submitting your request, your current custodian will need time to process it. The duration can vary based on the custodian’s policies and procedures. During this period, stay in contact with both your current custodian and the financial institution where you’re opening your new self-directed IRA.

 Things to Keep in Mind

– Timelines: Be aware of any timelines associated with rollovers. There are often specific time limits within which you must deposit your funds into the new IRA to avoid taxes and penalties.
Investment Options: Self-directed IRAs typically offer a wider range of investment options, including real estate, precious metals, and private placements. Make sure you understand these options and the rules governing them.
– Fees and Charges: Different custodians may have different fee structures for rollovers and for managing self-directed IRAs. Be sure to understand these fees before proceeding.


Rolling over your previous employer plan to a self-directed IRA can be a great way to gain more control over your retirement savings and diversify your investment portfolio. By following these steps and keeping key considerations in mind, you can navigate this process smoothly. Remember, when dealing with retirement funds, it’s always wise to consult with a financial advisor to ensure that your decisions align with your long-term financial goals.  Reach out to us at uDirect IRA Services for answers to all your self-directed retirement questions.