Weekly business rail, with tips on 401(k)s, BBB advice on solar power and more.
Tip of the Week
The average American will hold 11 jobs between the ages of 18 and 42, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 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.
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.
Rolling over your old 401(k)s isn't as complicated as you might think. Merrill Edge 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 merrilledge.com, 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 can help you make investment decisions. Or consult your financial services provider to help you make investment choices for your unique situation.
Warmer weather and sunny skies combined with higher electric rates are causing some people to consider green solutions to their economic problems. Solar energy is one option for long-term cost savings, however, a homeowner must do the homework to make sure solar energy power is a practical and money-saving alternative, not just an idealistic choice. The BBB recommends considering the following before investing in solar energy:
- Determine if solar energy is right for you. Due to the high costs associated with the initial investment of solar power, it is important to conduct a self energy audit to determine if solar energy is right for you.
- Consider all the costs associated with solar energy. Ask about all the costs associated with the maintenance and upkeep of the system. Determine if the benefits and savings outweigh the costs over the long run.
- Stay informed about state and federal incentive programs. Depending on your location, state and federal programs may help with high installation costs. Be sure to understand the terms and conditions of the incentive programs and conduct your own research prior to signing a contract with an installer. For the latest information on state programs, visit http://www.dsireusa.org/.
- Be cautious of installers that promise no out-of-pocket costs prior to reviewing your specific situation. Be leery if an installer suggests obtaining credit for the full amount of the system even though they are promising very low or no costs due to rebates.
- Make sure the roof of your home is equipped to sustain a solar panel system. Even though a properly installed solar system will not damage your roof, make sure your roof is in good condition before you begin the installation to avoid any future problems.
For more tips and contractor referrals, visit www.bbb.org.
According to Fortune magazine, here are the companies with the happiest workers:
- DreamWorks Animation
- Teach for America
Number to Know
$60.2 million: Earnings that Netflix reported in the first quarter, up from $32.3 million last year.
Even as Nintendo announced that a new Wii is coming in 2012, the company reported that its profit dropped for a second straight year.
GateHouse News Service