Leaving $100,000 or More with Old Employer’s 401(k)
What I found interesting was how many leave their funds over at their old employers, especially when they have a dent amount of money saved up.
In a study by human-resources consultants Hewitt Associates Inc., only 3% of departing employees with accounts of less than $1,000 left their money in their former employers’ plans, while nearly half of those with balances of $100,000 or more did so. That’s partly because many companies don’t allow departing employees with very small accounts to stay in their plans.
While leaving money in an old 401(k) plan is sometimes a smart move, experts say the primary reason people don’t take these accounts with them when they change jobs is inertia. There also is confusion about the options, or—to push the canine metaphors one last time—whether to walk, stay or roll over.
Since we’re on the topic of investing for retirement, if you’re high interest debt, don’t invest. The average credit card debt forAmerican household is around $10,000. With credit card rates around 20% and higher, it would be smarter to pay this debt first off first.
You shouldn’t use your 401(k) to pay off your credit cards because you’ll lose the advantage of compound interest.
The only exception (there always is one!) is if your company offers a match. I’d put in enough to money in to get your company’s match. It’s basically free money and if you can get some earning compound interest through the years, you’ll be in a better position when you retire.