What happens to your 401(k) when you leave your job?

What happens to your 401(k) when you leave your job?

Whenever you leave a job, whether it’s your choice or not, there are many details and changes competing for your attention, and it’s easy to overlook the disposition of your employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k), 403(b) or 457.

You don’t actually have to do anything, but doing nothing is usually not your best choice. Making the right choice can let you add many thousands of dollars to your retirement nest egg. Making the wrong choice can unnecessarily squander some of your savings to the tax man and deprive you of future earning power.

You may get some very general guidance from your employer. But employers are prohibited by law from giving you specific advice. The custodian of your retirement plan (Vanguard or Fidelity, for example) has little incentive to overcome a basic conflict of interest: Even though your investment options will be restricted if you leave your money where it is, that’s exactly what your custodian hopes you will do.

This is a choice you need to make on your own. Fortunately it’s neither complicated nor difficult.   In addition, you don’t have to do it immediately (although the lack of a deadline is a mixed bag if it leads you to procrastinate and then become complacent). (more…)

Suze Orman – Should you listen to her advice?

Suze Orman has become a familiar fixture on the financial beat, with many fans. Among those fans is Merriman financial advisor Cheryl Curran, who nevertheless believes Orman’s investment advice should not be followed. In the following article, she tells why.

When Suze Orman gained popularity several years ago, it was very refreshing to me to see a new face and hear an unconventional voice coming from the financial services industry.

In the still heavily-male-dominated financial industry, I have been especially pleased to see a woman’s advice accepted and taken seriously by people of all ages and in all stages of life, regardless of whether they have a lot of wealth or only a little.

I admire Suze’s wonderful ability to break down complicated products and cut through industry jargon.

However, I think investors need to be wary of the information and advice she dispenses – and the example she sets. (more…)