What is a blackout period?

A blackout period is a duration of time when participants cannot access their 401(k) accounts; this is typically during a time when 401(k) plan assets and records are being moved from one retirement benefit provider to another. During this time, you are unable to select new investments, take a loan, or make withdrawals from the 401(k) funds being transferred from the previous plan provider. 

Blackout notices will contain information on the expected beginning, and end date, of the blackout period. The notice will state the reason for the blackout and what account options will be restricted as a result and will also provide you contact information for Guideline, so we can answer any questions you may have about the blackout period.

Each participant of the previous 401(k) plan should receive a blackout notice at least 30 days, but not more than 60 days, in advance of any blackout period. This blackout notice will be received via email from hello@guideline.com.

If you are no longer employed by the sponsoring  company and prefer not to have your funds transferred to Guideline, you can contact your current plan provider as soon as possible to rollover or request a distribution of your funds before the blackout period starts. 

If you currently have assets in the plan, but are no longer employed by the company, Guideline will automatically deduct a small administrative fee of $4 per month from your account after a 90-day grace period following the end of the blackout period. This small fee will allow you to take advantage of Guideline’s low-cost investments and professionally managed portfolios.

Upon receipt of your assets, you will have the ability to make changes to your portfolio and manage your account with Guideline. However, you will not be able to contribute any new funds to the plan. If you do not create an account and choose a portfolio, your funds will be invested in a default portfolio based on your age and estimated time until retirement.

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