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Your employer matches retirement plan contributions. But what happens if you leave the company? Vesting matters.
Founder & CEO

What happens to the employer match contributions to your 401k* when you leave your company? *or 403(b), etc.

One of two things, and it's really important for you to know how your retirement plan works:

1) Your employer's match "vests immediately" - if you leave, that money is yours

2)Your employer's match is subject to a "vesting schedule" - there are rules about how much of the match you could take with you if you left the company within certain timeframes after receiving the match

Remember vesting ONLY applies to the match money, not your own contribution. Your own contribution is your money from the start. Whether or not your employer offers a match does not change that.

Writing Boring Emails Is No Fun. Make Your Life Easy & Use This.

Need help figuring out if your employer match is subject to vesting? Use this script to email HR or give them a call. 


I’d like to better understand how the matching contributions work on the retirement plan: does the match amount contributed by the company vest immediately, or is there a vesting schedule? If there’s a vesting schedule, please let me know how the schedule works, or please point me to a description of the vesting so I can read it myself.


Know that if you’re at a smaller company, the person you’re asking might wonder or ask if you’re thinking about leaving. You can always say, “I'm asking because I want to make sure I understand how my retirement plan works.”

Wallis is the Founder & CEO of AboveBoard Financial, a company reinventing investment advice and insurance with revolutionary transparency and honesty. Wallis spent over 10 years at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker and hedge fund investor in financial institutions. She founded AboveBoard to cut through the BS and present important choices with clarity and compassion. Wallis lives in New York City with her husband and two young children.

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