Job Changers Don't Plan Dip Into Retirement Savings

August 15, 2002 ( - Workers may be thinking about a new job, but they aren't planning to tap into their retirement stash, according to a new survey.

The survey by Fidelity Investments and online recruiter found that the vast majority (82%) of those planning to make a job jump don’t plan to tap into their retirement savings in the near future. 

That finding stands in some contrast to data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) that found a majority of workers who received a lump sum distribution cashed out at least some of the balance. However, in general, EBRI researchers found that workers changing jobs were more likely to preserve lump-sum distributions and less likely to waste the money on purchases of the moment.  Those distributions that were cashed out tended to be smaller sums – roughly a third were less than $2,000. 

However, some of the confidence expressed in the Fidelity/ survey may come from a high degree of confidence in finding another job – four out of five expected to land one within six months.

And they do appear to be making preparations for a move.  More than half of 401(k) job changers have made no change to their retirement plans over the past year, while one in five increased contributions. Just 9% have stopped contributing to retirement savings, 7% have made a withdrawal in the past year and 6% have reduced contributions, according to the survey.

Findings were based on a telephone survey was conducted in early July for Fidelity Investments by Opinion Research Corporation International among 3,046 adults, comprising 1,519 men and 1,527 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States.