Changing jobs ranks way up there, as stressful life events go. It can be as overwhelming as undertaking a big move, welcoming a new family member, or saying goodbye to a partner.
One of the great privileges of our work is getting to bear witness to those big moments. And there are ways that our perspective might help smooth the rough edges during times of transition.
In fact, you might think of changing jobs as an opportunity: there are plenty of housekeeping issues that come with change, but it’s also a chance to get some things tidied up.
It’s likely worth the time to track down 401(k) plans from any previous jobs. It may seem like a chore—like going through the garage or getting into the couch cushions—but it could result in finding some forgotten treasure.
Just like loose change can end up spread out all over the couch or the car or the junk drawer, you’ve likely left some resources here and there along your career. But it can’t be put to work if you don’t track it down again.
This reminder applies to a lot of different folks. Young people may have a new job—or two!—every year throughout their early 20s. Even many of my contemporaries have had, on average, maybe a dozen jobs across their working years. The earlier we can get our accounts organized, the easier it will be to keep up the good habits. It’s a potential stressor we can work on before it gets to be a headache!
There are different ways to make the most of those retirement accounts. Some options include leaving them as they are, moving them to a 401(k) with your current job, or rolling them into an IRA at a different financial institution.
The big idea, though, is that a treasure hunt now may provide some comfort even in a challenging transition. It can be such a relief to know that your money can work as long as you do—and beyond!
Questions for us? We’re happy to talk, anytime.
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