(Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of columns on retirement by Jim Cramer, founder of TheStreet, and Wally Konrad, former senior editor for Smart Money magazine. To read the first installment, click here. The second article is here, and the third is here)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If you're leaving a job, or worse, suddenly laid off, the last thing on your mind is your retirement account. You mean to get around to rolling your money over into an IRA, but the world has turned upside down and you're faced with more urgent priorities such as beginning a painful job search or grabbing the best retirement options. No wonder 32% of workers leave their retirement savings in their former employers' 401(k) plans. Employers love it when you do nothing. The more assets a plan has, including money from former employees and retirees, the easier it is for sponsors to negotiate with plan providers for better terms and lower fees.
What's more, you're also subject to whatever rules your employer may impose on your 401(k) plan, including how you may take your withdrawals during retirement. With some plans, these rules can get complicated and may affect your income stream.