When changing jobs, people often overlook an important item from their former employer – their retirement account. A recent MarketWatch article, “The checklist you need to manage multiple retirement accounts”
by Spencer Williams, reminds us that it is important to keep tabs on left-behind 401(k) accounts and that it is wrong to assume that an account is managed the same way forever.
In fact, it’s possible that changes to the management or the fees associated with former 401(k) accounts could end up impacting the account and your hard-earned savings.
How to Keep Updated on Former 401(k) Accounts
The average American changes jobs at least seven times over the course of 40 years according to the MarketWatch article
, so it is important to not lose track of any retirement plan maintained with a former employer. Williams suggests investors answer these three questions about each former 401(k) account.
Consolidate former plans into one account
Has your former employer engaged in any mergers or acquisitions during the past year that could affect the 401(k)?
Has the former 401(k) undergone any other changes to the plan structure?
Do you have a copy of the most recent annual report?
In addition to keeping tabs on retirement plans at former employers, it is also possible to roll over plans and/or consolidate them at a qualified custodian. If you already have an Equity Trust account or are interested in opening a self-directed account, it might be possible to move a 401(k) to Equity Trust and avoid having to track retirement accounts at multiple custodians.
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