The convenience of 401(k)s and other employer-sponsored retirement plans have turned many Americans into investors. That’s good news, since it is becoming evident that fewer retirees in the future will have substantial pensions and more will have to rely on their own savings to cover their needs.
Statistics show, however, that the average American will change jobs at least 10 times throughout his or her lifetime. This could make it more difficult to maintain a retirement account, unfortunately, since many people opt to “cash out” their retirement savings when they leave their jobs.
In fact, according to a 2003 survey by global human resources services firm Hewitt Associates, 42 percent of people cash out their retirement savings when they change jobs. The number is higher for younger people and people with lower balances: 50 percent of people aged 20 to 29 cash out, while 72 percent take cash if the account balance is between $5,000 and $10,000.
There is a smarter way to handle your retirement fund when you change jobs: Simply roll it over. By transferring your funds to a Rollover IRA, you avoid paying taxes now, giving your money the...