What to Do With Money in a Former Employer’s 401(k)

Leave it behind, move it to your new job’s plan, or roll it over to an IRA. Each of the options has pros and cons.

person looking at change in a jar
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In November 2021, 4.5 million American workers voluntarily left their jobs, setting the record for the most departures in a single month. Since then, the so-called Great Resignation has yet to show signs of slowing. Another 4.5 million people quit their jobs in March, and another 4.4 million quit in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And some believe the Great Resignation isn’t a temporary phenomenon but a permanent change. Job turnover is 20% higher in the remote- and hybrid-working world, and it’s is likely to stay that way, according to Gartner, a technology-research firm.

If you recently left (or are planning to leave) a job with a company that provided a 401(k) plan, you have several options.

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Emma Patch
Staff Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Emma Patch joined Kiplinger in 2020. She previously interned for Kiplinger's Retirement Report and before that, for a boutique investment firm in New York City. She served as editor-at-large and features editor for Middlebury College's student newspaper, The Campus. She specializes in travel, student debt and a number of other personal finance topics. Born in London, Emma grew up in Connecticut and now lives in Washington, D.C.