Why Rollovers Happen – and Don’t

A new survey finds that while nearly 3 in every 10 Americans have more than one 401(k), only about half have ever rolled them over.

Research Now, which conducted the nationally representative digital survey on behalf of Scarborough Capital Management, noted that of the 51.6% who have rolled over those 401(k)s:

  • 7% did so because they wanted it all in one place
  • 1% were advised to do so
  • 1% wanted to simplify their investments
  • 17% thought it was the right thing to do
  • 6% wanted more options
  • 9% did so to avoid the fees

About half of those surveyed had used a financial advisor to help guide their retirement savings efforts. Among those who chose not to do so:

  • 4% made that decision because they believe they have the ability to do it themselves
  • 7% felt they didn’t have enough money to invest
  • 5% thought it was too expensive

And then there was the 17.9% who said they had never even considered it.

Time ‘Management’

A plurality of people (43.6%) spend one to two hours per year managing their 401(k), while:

  • 2% spend 3-5 hours
  • 9% spend 6-10 hours
  • 6% spend more than 10 hours

Leaving more than one in eight (13.8%) who said they spent no time at all on it.

The report found that a majority of Americans begin taking their 401(k) seriously by the time they’re in their 20s (31.8%) or their 30s (33.4%), although some respondents mentioned waiting until their 40s (18.4%), 50s (8%) or past their 50s (3.7%). The good news: Only 2.4% said they don’t take their 401(k) seriously.

The survey was conducted Feb. 10-17, 2016, and consisted of 1,004 Americans throughout the United States older than 18 with 401(k)s. The margin of error is +/- 3% for the national sample.

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