In his 10/2/15 MarketWatch article Let a Roll-in Increase Your Retirement Income, RCH President & CEO J. Spencer Williams advises retirement savers to bring their savings with them, vs. leaving their accounts behind -- or worse, cashing out.
Using straightforward math, Williams first illustrates the cost of a $5,000 cash out for a hypothetical 30-year-old, who will end up throwing away more than $52,000 in compounded savings, at age 65. Unfortunately, over 2 million Americans with less than $5,000 will cash out their retirement savings every year.
Leaving accounts behind also poses risks to savers. Small balances (less than $5,000) may be rolled out to a safe harbor IRA, and all accounts that are left unconsolidated may lose money on excess management fees. Again, using simple math, Williams calculates that a hypothetical 25-year-old who switches jobs 6 times over a 40-year career and leaves behind multiple 401(k) accounts will lose over $30,000, due to unnecessary administrative fees.
Consolidation (roll-in) to a current plan is a better solution, advises Williams, and one that is supported by most plans, according the Plan Sponsor Council of America. If the company’s plan accepts roll-ins, Williams further advises participants to ask if the company offers proprietary or third-party assistance with the roll-in process, and if all or part of the cost is covered.
Choosing to consolidate today means that participants are taking charge of their retirement future.