How to Find Your Lost 401 (k)

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Are you missing a 401 (k) that you don’t know about? This is more common than you think. One US Department of Labor study It suggests that people may have worked on more than a dozen jobs in their mid-40s, most of which barely lasted a few years. It is easy to lose the way to your 401 (k) with that kind of churn. Here’s how you can find and recover your long-lost 401 (k).

Contact your old employer

If you remember the name of your former employer, you are really Off to a great start. Your first step is to contact your old employer’s human resources department and ask if they have any 401 (k) records in your name. If you are in luck, they should be able to help you Transfer your money to another 401 (k) or IRA.

It is also possible that your old employer gave your pension plan to a bank, insurer or Mutual fund company, but still obliged to retain and pay the profits if you are eligible. Your old company can put you directly in touch with a financial institution that oversees your savings.

What if my old company no longer exists?

If your last The employer no longer exists due to bankruptcy, a merger, or just a name change, you will need to track the new entity and its 401 (k) admins (which may be listed on an old statement) If you still have one). If you don’t know how to find either, it gets a bit tricky, as there is no centralized database for old retirement assets. If Google fails you, try:

  • Contact Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, a federal agency that provides Missing participants program Those that link employees to retirement savings are probably forgotten.
  • US Department of Labor Abandoned plan database, Which can help you determine what your retirement plan is as well as contact information for the current administrator of the plan.
  • National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits, Which allows former employees to do a free database search for unpaid retirement account money. You will only need your social security number to use it.
  • Find your name on, A database containing 401 (k) paperwork is filed with the federal government
  • Securities and Exchange Commission Database, You would have information about your public employer if they were publicly traded.
  • Contacting your state department, which registers business entities and keeps records for businesses in its jurisdiction.

Once you locate your account, there is no restriction on funds. You can work with your administrator to withdraw them or roll them over the IRA or existing 401 (k). But keep in mind who will be subject to withdrawal of funds General income tax and Early withdrawal penalty That come with a 401 (k). The best part is that the money is otherwise YoursFinding a twenty dollar bill in your winter jacket – but better.


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