Fewer Americans are blowing their retirement savings on cars, televisions and electronics when they quit their jobs. Most workers who choose to take a lump-sum distribution from their retirement plan roll it into an IRA or other savings vehicle or use that money to pay down debt or buy a house.
Only a small percentage of workers—7.5 percent—spent their lump sum retirement savings on mindless consumption when they left their job in 2012, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. That’s a major improvement from years past. In 1993, for instance, 22.7 percent of those who received a distribution blew the money on nonessentials. That figure dropped to 15.1 percent through 2003.