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‘Wheel of Fortune’ host Pat Sajak is retiring after 40 years. Should you stay at a job that long?

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Pat Sajak is leaving his role as host of the game show “Wheel of Fortune” next year, more than 40 years after he started — a career feat not many people can say they’ve achieved. 

Sajak, 76, tweeted the news on Monday night. “Well, the time has come,” he wrote. “I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last. It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)” 

Read: One last spin: Pat Sajak announces his ‘Wheel of Fortune’ retirement

Staying with the same employer for decades used to be commonplace, but today, workers are more often job hopping. Doing so has its advantages, such as salary raises and more perks, but it also comes with disadvantages, such as less assets in retirement accounts and even the possibility of losing money in 401(k) plans. 

Changing jobs can harm a worker’s future retirement security. At some companies, employees must complete a waiting period before they’re allowed to enroll in the workplace retirement plan — leaving the job too early could mean never having access to the plan, and thus never taking advantage of investment choices and high contribution rates. 

In other scenarios, employees with immediate access to a 401(k) or similar plan might not amass enough in contributions to keep the account active if they were to leave too soon. Some employer plans have minimum requirements, such as $5,000, where anyone with an account balance less could be rolled over to an IRA. Balances less than $1,000 may simply be cashed out, thereby losing out on potential investment returns. 

See: This isn’t ‘quiet quitting.’ How quitting — and retiring — can set you free.

Too many 401(k) plans or similar retirement accounts could also become a burden to manage, and other workers may forget about them entirely. About $1.35 trillion was left in “forgotten” 401(k) money, according to a 2021 study from Capitalize, a company that works with employer-sponsored retirement assets. The average balance was $55,400. 

Of course, there are benefits to switching jobs, such as career advancements and wage gains. Six in 10 workers who switched jobs said they saw a real wage increase between April 2021 and March 2022, compared with 47% of those who stayed with the same employer, according to Pew Research Center data. Moving companies allows job seekers to negotiate their pay, receive signing bonuses or find other benefits, said Marissa Morrison, vice president of people at ZipRecruiter.

There was about a 30% annual turnover of workers (a total of 50 million people), if it is assumed no other employees switched jobs multiple times in one year, according to Pew Research Center.  

Employees who stick with the same employer could reap other benefits, such as vesting in 401(k) plans, stock options and pensions, Morrison said. They are also more likely to find predictability and stability, and can build a knowledge base of the company.

More workers will continue to seek new opportunities. Almost a quarter (22%) of workers said they are very or somewhat likely to look for a new job in the next six months, according to the Pew Research Center. A popular trend in 2022 leading into 2023 was “quiet quitting,” which is when employees conduct their responsibilities but are not engaged with their jobs. Some employees, including older workers on the cusp of retirement, were looking for new jobs while still employed earlier this year in light of fears over a recession and mass layoffs. 

Vanna White, Sajak’s colleague on “Wheel of Fortune” who started on the show in 1982, did not announce she would be retiring alongside Sajak. On Tuesday, she tweeted her congratulations to her co-host. “When we started @WheelofFortune, who could have imagined we’d still be at it 41 seasons later?” she wrote. “I couldn’t be happier to have shared the stage with you for all these years with one more to come.”

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