Cheat Sheet Q&A:  How long does the average person stay with one company?

Today’s entry: 

I've heard that the average person now changes careers 3 or more times before they retire.  What I'm curious about is how long the average person stays with the same employer?  It seems to me that part of the reason why more Americans are unprepared for retirement is that they are changing employers and careers too frequently and are earning and saving less as a result. 

Bottom Line:  This is an astute question and hypothesis.  Career experts do now say that the average retiree will change careers at least three times during their career (3-5 times), so you’re right on point on that note.  With regard to how long the average person stays with one employer these days:

·        According to the BLS the average employee stays with an employer for 4.6 years

Now it’s obviously not always the choice of the employee to leave a company but more often than not it is.  With regard to the potential impact on retirement and savings…  Well that’s a great thought/question that sent me down a path of research related to what we do when we leave an employer. 

It’s inconclusive what the impact of changing employers within the same career is on the average salary.  It is clear that there is an average decline in income of 20-30% after a career change.  What’s more is what we do when we leave an employer. 

·        41% of employees cash out their retirement accounts when they change employers

Not only are these individuals raiding their retirement savings but they’re also paying big penalties and taxes to do so.  Recently Fidelity reported that the average balance of a 401k is a record $98k.  Keep that in mind with this info:

·        41% of employees with a retirement plan will cash it out when they change employers

·        The average balance at the time they cash it out is $14,300

So without question changing jobs and careers frequently has an extremely negative impact for a large portion of Americans and is playing a significantly negative role in earnings and retirements savings. 

If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me:

Audio Report: 



Hmm...  The best place to buy your drugs (for the best price) isn't the drug store...:

Bottom Line:  For at least the second consecutive year, research initiated by Consumer Reports has shown that for the best prices on prescription drugs, the drug store isn’t the best place to shop.  Nationwide averages show the following:

·        Costco has the best overall pricing on prescription drugs

·        Wal-Mart and K-Mart are 2nd & 3rd

While all major drug stores are more expensive on average than those three here is the order for best prices among the chains:

·        Walgreens has the lowest prices

·        Rite Aid is the second highest and CVS is the most expensive

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Don't get a new mobile device prior to Sept. 9th (unless you have to) Apple’s product announcement:

Bottom Line:  So we now have a date for the big fall product announcement event from Apple.  It’s September 9th.  In addition to the new iPhones, it’s likely that we’ll have new iPads and their new product line in wearable tech – iTime.  What this means to you is two fold.  One you can expect the new items to be available in October.  Secondly you can expect the prices of all Apple current model products becoming much cheaper immediately upon the announcement. 

This means that if you want a current model Apple product you’ll be able to get a better price by the second week of September and a much cheaper price (generally 30-50% off) by the time the new models are shipping.  Generally you also see discounting of devices by competitive brands to Apple discount along side of Apple to remain cost competitive. So unless you break or lose your devices be patient and it should save you significantly or perhaps you’d prefer one of the new model products instead.

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Your old video games are about to be worth more & where you can get the best price:

Bottom Line:  Specialty retailers have had an extremely difficult time staying afloat -especially in the electronics and game industry.  Gone are Service Merchandise, Circuit City, Sound Advice, Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, etc.  The last man standing in the pure play video game business is GameStop.

GameStop is hanging tough but have been slowly eaten away around the edges by non-console based video games, especially mobile, and in the physical video game business by companies like Wal-Mart, Target and  One of their big selling points to keep their customers coming back had been their video game buy back program.  But in recent years all of the aforementioned have gotten into the video game buyback game as well.  GameStop is fighting back and it’ll benefit you if you’re looking to sell old video games. 

·        As of August 18th GameStop is raising their buy back prices for video games by 20% across the board

Outside of collectable titles that should be the highest price paid by any retailer.  The only catch is that to get the additional 20% you need to accept it as store credit.  That’s how to ensure you return. It’s a smart plan and potentially a good value for the gamer in your home. 

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History suggests that you've got three days to book airfare for the rest of the year (if you want the best price):

Bottom Line:  I started with research from and followed up with my own diligence with regard to timing airfare for the best prices. announced that last year if you waiting until after August 9th to book airfare for Labor Day weekend you would have paid 10-30% more depending on where you’re going.  So the moral of the story is that you should book by the end of the day Friday if history is a guide.  I decided to take a look at the remainder of the year and longer term trends as well.  Here’s what I found…  Booking your airfare in early August also provides the best pricing around all holiday for the remainder of the year, not just around Labor Day but all holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s).  The only years in which that wasn’t the case were years in which we were in recession in the 4th quarter of the year (07’ & 08’).  Given that the economy is looking  stronger for 2nd half of the year, the odds are that history will repeat and if you want to fly for the remainder of the year – you should book by the end of the week if you want the best price.  

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