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Millennials have the reputation of the “job hopping generation.” , and I have no shame saying that I’ve contributed to the stereotype. Hoppers change jobs every one or two years. While it might look like a hinderance on potential job prospects, it diversifies experience, broadens your professional network and increases earning potential.

All those positive reasons I stated above to job hop are valid, but you can’t overlook the negatives one of them includes the unintended risks of your long-term financial future such as losing out on retirement savings. Trust me, I’ve had to learn from others so I wouldn’t make this mistake.

For example, employer retirement plans may have waiting periods before your eligible to participate, while others have rules meant to reward long-term employees. If you job hop before you become eligible, you can miss out on opportunities to save.

If you happen to leave the job, there is a big chance you might want to cash out on the 401k early. Be aware of potential penalties and taxes that could impact your retirement savings. My financial advisor(s) overtime have taught me that it’s best to have the money transferred into a new financial institution.

Forbes report states that staying employed at the same company for over two years on average is going to make you earn less over your lifetime by about 50% or more. There are other studies that also argue that job hopping pays.

Millennials are the probably the most highly educated generation in recent times, yet they are still battling with the challenges of being undervalued financially in the workplace, lack of job security, and banking on annual raises that can’t keep up with inflation.

Changing a job for a salary increase means that your retirement contributions should increase as well. Another important factor for deciding whether job hopping is best for you is to review the employer benefits package and if it will improve your long-term retirement savings. Imagine accepting a job with a company that required you to pay healthcare premium of $500 a month, with limited work schedule flexibility, and educational stipends? This could impact your retirement savings and impact your professional growth.

What ever you decided, be smart. You don’t want to seem like a flight risk to an employer if you jump ship too often. Take a look at where you are in your position? Is it offering you professional and financial growth? If not, then you should do what’s in your best interest to look for greener pastures.

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...