HARARE --

Panic buying of basic commodities has hit Harare as authorities mull introducing bond notes in October, widely opposed by most Zimbabweans, who lost personal savings when the country dumped the local dollar in 2009.

A snap informal survey in Zimbabwe's capital city shows that some people are now hoarding basic commodities in anticipation of a looming food crisis due to the current cash crisis and after the introduction of bond notes.

One such skeptical consumer is Mabelreign resident Rosemary Chinyadza, who said the current cash crisis might result in serious food shortages almost like what Zimbabweans witnessed at the height of the nation's economic recession between 2007 and 2008.

The bulk purchasing of commodities has forced some shops to start limiting the purchasing of certain commodities. For example, a retail shop in Harare's central business district was today limiting the purchasing of a two-liter cooking oil bottle to one bottle per customer.

Panic buying of basic commodities has gripped Harare.

Several shop owners in Harare say they are witnessing panic buying of basic commodities with some customers expressing dismay over the current cash crisis, which has resulted in most of them spending a lot of time in back queues. The situation is being worsened by the central bank's moves to introduce bond notes.

Linda Masirarambi, who works for a local company that operates from the city's central business district, said instead of concentrating on her job, she is now spending most of her time in bank queues looking for cash.

Masarirambi said she is unable to feed her family due to lack of cash to buy basic commodities.

Gibson Zindove, who runs a car repair business in Avondale, said he is no longer depositing money in banks because it would be difficult for him to access it when he wants to finance his business operations.



While job hopping has gained momentum, especially among Millennials as the stigma of switching jobs frequently has declined, this new norm appears to be affecting the amount of money saved for retirement.

The median balance in 2014 of 401(k) accounts is $18,127, according to Torsten Sl√łk, an international economist for Deutsche Bank. Workers who are 18 to 48 years have an average of 12 jobs in their career and half of them occur before the employee turns 25, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Related: Retirement Incomes Falling Short in All but 3 States

Although changing jobs every few years is becoming more of a norm as the economy has shifted gears, this new phenomenon is hindering employees and the retirement money accumulated because workers can have as many as six different 401(k) accounts, said Slok in a research report.

The trend is also thwarting efforts to encourage employees to save more money either through auto enrollment or auto escalation programs, because the bottom line is that the $18,000 number often quoted is significantly lower than actual retirement savings for US households, he said.

A large percentage of employees fail to roll their 401(k) plan into an IRA when they leave one company for another, paying unnecessary plan fees for many years, said David Twibell, president of Englewood, Colorado-based Custom Portfolio Group. Taking a distribution from a 401(k) instead of rolling it into an IRA means investors also pay ordinary taxes and the 10% early withdrawal penalty.

This is usually the best option, because it consolidates the money in one place and allows you to invest it as you wish, he said. Unfortunately, that rarely happens for most workers. As a result, many people really have no idea how much they have saved for retirement.

Related: 19 Retirement Mistakes You're Making Other Than Not Saving Enough

Many employees also lose track of their 401(k)s and are not aware of their performance or whether they should reallocate their investments.

As a result, the funds languish in their former employers plan, with no one managing them or rebalancing the account, Twibell said. Consolidating all those orphan 401(k) accounts can be a Herculean task since most employers have their own unnecessarily complex forms, processes, and procedures for transferring funds from their plans.

Job hopping is affecting the average 401(k) balance, since it is incredibly normal to have a half dozen or even more retirement accounts during the first 10 to 15 years of a working career, said Jake Loescher, a financial advisor for Savant Capital Management, a Rockford, Ill.-based wealth management firm.

The majority of individuals fail to understand that rolling over funds from a 401(k) account into an IRA means they can invest in the entire universe of mutual funds, stocks and ETFs, he said.

Related: Should We Raise the Retirement Age as Lives Get Longer?

Other Factors Causing Low Savings

Switching jobs frequently means employees can miss out on the company matches which often require employees to work a minimum of one year or even longer. Company matches mean employees can contribute a lower amount each month and allocate the additional funds towards paying down student loans and credit cards.

Job hopping can definitely have a detriment on retirement saving since many employer matches require a certain length of service before they vest, said Kelley Long, a Chicago certified financial planner and CPA. I personally left about $5,000 of a match behind when I switched jobs in my late 20s, which was about one-third of my overall savings at the time.

Millennials and even some Gen X-ers have faced the continued decline of real median household incomes, which affects to the lack of retirement savings. While incomes peaked in 1999, they have been declining since then except for the brief blip which raised salaries during 2004 to 2007, said Twibell.

If youre making less money each year on an inflation-adjusted basis, there simply isnt much left to save, he said. Thats particularly true since many household expenses continue to climb even faster than the rate of inflation.

Related: How to Cut Your Tax Bills in Retirement

The personal savings rate in the US has remained stagnant since 2013 and remained at 5.0% after spiking briefly following the financial crisis in 2008 to 2009, Twibell said.

While thats better than the rate immediately preceding the 2008 market collapse, it still falls far short of prior decades, he said.

After two massive market crashes in less than two decades have left many investors nervous about investing in equities. Despite the markets rebound since 2008, many employees have not returned to investing in stocks or wait several years.

Many workers dont feel like theyre getting ahead, Twibell said. In turn, this leads to a belief that the whole system is rigged to help rich investors and fleece them of their savings. Since they cant generate any meaningful return in bonds or a savings account and they dont trust the equity markets, they simply dont bother saving until later in their careers.

Too many employees have chosen to investment their disposable income into savings accounts on the belief that it is a safer investment despite the low yields and nearly zero interest rate environment.

The Great Recession changed everything and like businesses, employees also reset their personal business plan by trimming budgets, paying off debt and avoiding large purchases, said Loescher.

Aside from all companies auto enrolling employees into their 401(k) plans, a plan should be instituted to automatically transfer a workers precious retirement funds into the new companys 401(k), said Michael Eisenberg, a registered investment advisor at Miller Ward, an Encino, Calif.-based CPA firm.

Take this task out of the hands of the employees and have it done for them and they will be much happier when they retire, he said. Young folks dont save enough period, and then they have to play catch up big time when get into their 40s or 50s.

Many Millennials are burdened with having to pay down large amount of student loan debts first because they carry relatively high interest rates, said Sean Stein Smith, a Hackensack, NJ-based CPA.

Especially for Millennials, the lack of understanding of what the 401(k) process is about and compounding this is the fact that many people just entering the workforce are also contending with large debt burdens, he said. Rolling over a 401k is not particularly sexy and very well could get lost in the shuffle of changing positions.

This article originally appeared on Main Street. Read more from Main Street:

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Americans are natural-born consumers. Every year consumption accounts for about 70% US GDP. Unfortunately, with our spend, spend, spend attitude comes one nasty side effect: a poor personal savings rate. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Americans personal savings rate of 5.4% sits well below that of other developed countries around the world.

Why are we such poor savers? The answer might be found in our inability to properly understand our cash flow. On the surface youd probably think it silly not to understand where your income is being spent, but the vast majority of Americans simply dont know. Based on a Gallup survey conducted in June 2013, 68% of survey-takers dont prepare a written or computerized budget each month that tracks their income and expenses. Truth be told, if consumers arent keeping track of their income and spending with a budget, it makes optimizing saving incredibly difficult.

So whats the secret to creating a successful budget thatll put you on the fast track to understanding your cash flow and help you optimize your savings? Id suggest that implementing these nine budgeting tips would go a long way to taking your budget to the next level.

1. Use budgeting software

Legislation has been introduced to permit employees who dont have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan to become eligible for a personal savings account modeled after the Thrift Savings Plan. This legislation was sponsored by US Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and is supported by the AARP, among others. It faces an uncertain future in a Congress mired by political wrangling and strongly influenced by the powerful securities lobby.