May 17, 2011

Workers Unsure About Retirement Plan Rollover Options

Most workers stay in former employers' retirement plans for at least one year

A study released Tuesday by Fidelity found 30% of workers who change jobs are unsure about what to do with the assets they accumulated in their former employer's retirement plan.

Fidelity found about one-third of workers move retirement assets within four months of a job change. Of the 71% of workers who deliberately leave their savings in an old plan, 59% do so because they like the plan features or services. More than a quarter said they left their assets in a plan because they didn't have the time to move them.

Most workers (57%) said they would keep those assets in their old employers' plan for the next 12 months. Almost one-quarter of workers weren't sure if they would move their savings into a new plan in the next year, and 18% said they would move it to an IRA or their new employer's plan.

"The findings of this study highlight reasons why some investors stay in their old plans, and it also stresses the fundamental need for more education on the basic options investors have with these assets,” said Sarah Walsh, vice president of Fidelity Investments, said in a statement.

"Quite often when an investor leaves a job, they have a significant portion of their retirement savings in that former employer’s plan,” she added. “This is why it’s critical for investors to consider their options carefully."

Consolidation and control of assets, more investment options and lower fees were the top reasons workers cited for moving assets into an IRA or new workplace plan.

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.