Take the Money and Run

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You can take it with you. Your 401(k) plan, that is - in cash. When changing jobs, the majority of workers participating in 401(k) plans choose lump-sum cash payments over other investment options, reports global management consulting firm Hewitt Associates LLC. Despite loss of future retirement savings and withdrawal taxes for those under age 59 1/2, 68 percent of American workers opt to cash out. Only 26 percent roll their balances into IRAs and a mere 6 percent move their money into their new employers' plans. Using the cash to take vacations, purchase shiny new cars, or pay off credit card debt, is higher on workers' list of priorities. However, the larger the balance, the greater the likelihood workers won't opt for cash payment - among all age groups. Eighty percent of Baby Boomers over age 50 take cash payments for balances less than $3,500, but only 44 percent do so for balances between $10,000 and $24,000, similar to Generation Xers.

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