As you start a new job, don't forget about your old 401(k).
How you choose to juggle accounts from former workplaces could make a big difference in how much you'll ultimately have at retirement, said Alison Borland, executive vice president for defined contribution solutions at benefits administrator Alight Solutions. It's important to understand your options and take time to ask questions and figure out your best strategy.
"The long-term implications can be significant, financially," she said. "There's a lot at stake."
Broadly speaking, you have three options for a retirement account from a former workplace:
1) Leave it where it is.
2) Roll it into your new employer's plan.
3) Roll it into an individual retirement account.
(Technically, you have a fourth option: Cash out the account. But that's a bad idea, said Borland. Not only will you owe taxes and early withdrawal penalties on those funds, you'll lose out on the growth of that money over the rest of your career. A 2016 Fidelity report estimated that a 30-year-old worker cashing out a $16,000 401(k) could have had $81,000 by age 67 if they had left that balance alone.)