Does rolling over my 401(k) impact my annual contribution limits?

No. Assets already held in a 401(k) or an IRA can be rolled over and consolidated without it counting as a contribution.

However, it's important to use the "direct rollover" method if your intention is simply to move assets between institutions. A direct rollover is a rollover of assets directly between custodians. The money never leaves the tax-sheltered tax status, nor the direct custody of your institutions. A direct rollover check will say "To [your custodian], for the benefit of [you]."

An "indirect rollover" is where the custodian writes you a check for the assets, but the check is made out to you directly. If you use this method, you must deposit the exact same value into an IRA within 60 days, or the indirect rollover counts as a distribution. This can lead to a 10% penalty if you're under 59.5 years old, and the value will count as income for the year, on which you'll owe taxes. Additionally, the IRS recently set a 365-day limit to indirect rollovers - meaning, you have to wait a year to make another indirect rollover if you choose to transfer assets using this method.

FutureAdvisor only uses the direct rollover method for clients, to avoid triggering a taxable event.