The average person holds 11 jobs from the age of 18 to 44, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and for many of us that means 11 or more workplace retirement accounts. Because not all employer plans require you to leave the plan when you leave the company, you could end up with several, disparate retirement accounts.
To get a clearer picture of your money, consolidating old workplace accounts to an IRA or your next employer plan makes a lot of sense. But the decision of whether and how to “roll over” your 401(k) or other workplace retirement account is an important one, especially considering that these accounts make up the bulk of workers’ savings.
Understand your options
When you leave a job, you typically have four options: leave the money in your old employer’s plan, roll it into your new employer’s plan, put it into an IRA, or withdraw the balance.
When to stay put: If your current plan has great investment options at low prices, it won’t charge you fees to stay in the plan (ask HR to find out), and you don’t mind getting one more brokerage statement, it’s fine to leave it where it is.
If you decide to roll over your 401(k), you’ll just need to make a few phone calls to get started.