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Don't Touch That Pile of Cash in Your 401(k)!

In this edition of our Motley Fool Conversations series, Fool personal finance expert Dayana Yochim and retirement-planning analyst Dan Caplinger discuss the challenges of keeping disciplined with your retirement savings. Many investors cash out of their 401(k) plans when they change jobs, taking the opportunity to get a much-needed quick financial windfall. But as Dan notes, the consequences of giving in to temptation can be huge down the road.

As Dan points out, some employers even force you to take money out of 401(k) plans after you change jobs if your balance falls below a certain level. But as Dayana notes, keeping track of old 401(k)s is important, and Dayana and Dan go on to discuss various choices that you have for handling that money efficiently.

Dan suggests that the best solution for most people is to do an IRA rollover, which shifts cash directly from the old 401(k) account into a self-directed retirement account. That way, you can avoid IRS taxes and penalties and choose good low-cost investment options rather than being locked into the menu of higher-cost investments that most 401(k)s use. He explains how the process is simple, with your financial provider taking care of most of the details to keep your money working hard for you.

The best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.


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Dan Caplinger
TMFGalagan

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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