Many investors are unaware of the options available for their 401(k) account left with a previous employer, Fidelity Investments found. Nearly one-third (30%) who made a job transition are unsure of what to do with their workplace retirement savings.

Seventy-one percent who had left a former employer at least four months prior said they were consciously keeping their money with their former employer’s plan, with the No. 1 reason for doing so for 59% of this group being satisfaction with plan features and access to specific investments. Another 27% said they were leaving the money there because they didn’t have the time or the interest in taking action.

Further, 57% said they were planning to keep their investments in their old plan for the next 12 months. Only 18% said they were going to move the money to an IRA or their current employer’s retirement plan, and 24% were not sure of what they were going to do.

Thus, Fidelity has created a new “Viewpoints” article that shows the pros and cons of leaving the money in a former employer’s plan, rolling it over to an IRA, rolling it over to the new employer’s plan or cashing out.

“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 at Fidelity.

Lee Barney writes for Money Management Executive, a SourceMedia publication.

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