Financial advisors may find that a significant number of prospective clients have money sitting in old 401(k) plans, if new Fidelity research is any indication.
A recent study by Fidelity Investments found that 30% of Fidelity plan participants who made a job transition are unsure of what to do with their workplace savings.
Meanwhile, Fidelity's data showed that about two-thirds of plan participants hadn't moved their money from a former employer's plan within four months of leaving the company. Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of respondents said they are consciously keeping their assets in an old plan for the time being. The top reason stated (59 percent) was satisfaction with the plan features or services and access to specific investments. But 27 percent said a lack of time was preventing them from taking action.
When respondents were asked if they are planning to take any action within the next year, nearly a quarter (24 percent) indicated they were not sure, and almost one-in-five (18 percent) stated they were going to move the money to an individual retirement account or their current employer's workplace savings plan. But the majority (57 percent) stated they were planning to keep their investments in their old plan for the next 12 months.
"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, Fidelity Investments.
The study was compiled from an online survey of 1,093 Fidelity participants who currently have an employer-sponsored retirement plan with a former employer, have stayed in their workplace plan since leaving their employer for at least 120 days, have at least $50K+ in plan assets and are the financial decision makers for their retirement plans.