Steps for catching up with old 401(k)s

The average American will hold 11 jobs between the ages of 18 and 42, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010). When you start a new job, you probably remember to pack your personal items and update your contact information, but did you consider what to do with your 401(k) held at your previous employer? It’s easy to leave behind.

A recent Merrill Edge survey found that nearly half (46 percent) of mass affluent Americans plan to rely solely or heavily on retirement plans offered by their employer for their retirement savings, such as a 401(k) or 403(b). This makes it more important than ever to keep track of your retirement savings.

Having accounts in more than one place can make keeping tabs more difficult. Rolling over your balances into one account helps to ensure you can properly track and manage your savings to help you pursue your retirement goals. When it’s simpler to monitor your investments, you can make changes as needed.

“One of the biggest challenges facing Americans today is planning for their retirement,” says Dean Athanasia, mass affluent and small business executive at Bank of America. “Many people expect to retire later than they had planned a year ago. Rolling over old 401(k)s is one small step consumers can take to help make managing their retirement savings easier and their retirement goals more attainable.”

Rolling over your old 401(k)s isn’t as complicated as you might think. Merrill Edge, offering a wide array of investment solutions from Merrill Lynch and access to the banking services of Bank of America all in one place, has a three step process to help you keep things simple:

1. Locate your accounts: Collect statements and account numbers for all your 401(k)s. If you’re missing any account information, call your former employers or benefits providers for the information you need.

2. Consider your options: Review all of the rollover options available to you. There may be many options for retirement investing and saving, so consider the length of time you plan to invest and the level of risk that’s comfortable for you. You can use a retirement calculator, like the Retirement Evaluator available on, to help you see where you stand today and help you determine whether you’re on track to meet your retirement goals.

3. Choose your investments: Finally, decide how you’d like to invest. IRAs typically offer more investing options than 401(k)s to help you reach your retirement goals. Many online tools, such as the Asset Allocator available on, can help you make investment decisions. Or, consult your financial services provider to help you make investment choices for your unique situation.

Consolidating 401(k)s into a single IRA account can make it easier for you to track and manage your retirement assets now, as well as when you start to withdraw funds in retirement. The process doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you remember a few simple steps – collect your account information, evaluate the choices available to you, and select a roll over solution that is appropriate for you.

For more information on rolling over 401(k)s and retirement strategies visit or speak with a Financial Solutions Advisor at the Merrill Edge Advisory center at (888) MER-EDGE (888-637-3343).

Investing in securities involves risks. Neither Merrill Edge nor its associates provide tax, accounting or legal advice. You should review any planned financial transactions or arrangements that may have tax, accounting or legal implications with your personal professional advisers. Withdrawals are subject to ordinary income tax. In addition, a 10 percent additional federal tax may apply to withdrawals taken prior to age 59 1/2.

Investment products:
* Are not FDIC insured
* Are not bank guaranteed
* May lose value

Merrill Edge is the marketing name for two businesses: Merrill Edge Advisory Center, which offers team-based advice and guidance brokerage services; and a self-directed online investing platform. Both are made available through Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S).

MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation.

Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N. A. and affiliated banks, members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation.

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