Preparing for retirement: Don’t forget about 401k accounts from former employers

Lisa Wurth

July 26, 2011

During the recession the many people lost their jobs, and the unemployment rate has remained high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found it to be holding at around 9 percent in June. Many individuals who were laid off are discovering that their 401k accounts may be less accessible than they think. Some companies require former employees to make arrangements by moving their retirement funds when they leave their jobs, according to the Sacramento Bee.

However, Florida State University economics professor William Stronge told the news source that these individuals have options for relocating their money. Mutual fund companies can help older individuals transfer their 401k savings to IRA retirement accounts, which can help them avoid penalty fees and taxes that can apply if the funds are withdrawn before they are 55 years old.

Saving for retirement is important, as the average American spends about 20 years in retirement, according to the Department of Labor. It's also a good idea to consider healthcare options, such as personal emergency response systems. As adults age, their health begins to deteriorate, and these systems can help keep them safe and contact help should they fall or otherwise be injured.