It’s increasingly common that workers move jobs throughout their career, and with pensions largely a thing of the past, the incentive to stay employed at one company has dwindled. A survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that people hold an average of 12 jobs between the ages of 18 and 50. With the stress and excitement of a job transition, it can be easy to forget about the 401(k) funds you’ve saved at your previous jobs. However, when you are between jobs, that’s a great time to get organized and reevaluate your financial future. A few thousand dollars here or there could add up to a significant amount of money when it comes time to retire. And with funds scattered, it can be difficult to stick to a cohesive strategy for reaching your goals in the golden years.
If you have retirement savings from old jobs you have a few options:
- Roll retirement funds into your new 401(k): Most companies will allow you to roll over a 401(k) from an old employer into your new 401(k) account. This is a good option to keep all funds in one place if it has a small balance and if you’re not working with a financial advisor. However, you may have limited options for investments if choosing this route.
- Funnel savings into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA): Moving funds to an IRA gives you more options for investments and allows investors to have all those retirement assets in one place. Having an advisor oversee your IRA will help to keep your retirement strategy and allocation in place so you stay on track to reach objectives. There may be increased advisory costs, but you receive the benefit of having your assets actively managed.
Regardless of which option you choose, it’s critical to keep the money invested, even if the account has a balance of just $1,000. If that money doesn’t stay in a retirement account you can incur unnecessary penalties.
Working with a trusted advisor can help you to create and stick to a long-term strategy to meet your future goals. Having all your money in one place can ensure you’re not under- or over-diversified in your portfolio and that you’re not incurring unnecessary extra fees. You can get started by meeting with an advisor and evaluating your options, there’s no need to make any decisions on the spot but opening up the conversation and having a resource to ask questions can help get you on the right path.