Unclaimed Money: How to Find and Recover Your Lost 401(k) Money

A crisis is looming on the horizon — and it’s not the same old story about workers who haven’t saved enough.

This calamity is affecting would-be retirees who can’t find — or aren’t aware of — retirement benefits owed to them by former employers.

Finding old 401(k) and pension plans is not always as straightforward as you might think.

If companies go bankrupt, pension liabilities might be passed to insurance companies, your personal details lost in the bureaucratic process.

Retirees who sit waiting for a pension check to show up might be waiting a long time. One insurer in the business of taking over pension obligations, Metlife, revealed that it had failed to make payments to around 13,500 people.

The company claims they tried to contact the workers twice before giving up.

When all the dust has settled, the responsibility lies with you to take care of retirement plan — and this means keeping track of all your accounts.

Tracking down transferred or missing 401k plans can be tricky, especially if the account holds less than $5,000.

Federal law allows retirement plans to automatically transfer balances up to $5,000 to Individual Retirement Accounts without needing additional consent.

Contact your previous employers where you had plans. Write down all phone numbers and names. Definitely start with human resources and take notes.

Your old company may have been bought or merged with another. The new firm’s human resources is still the right place to start asking questions.

It might therefore be the case that you are not looking for an old 401(k) but an IRA.

If your old 401(k) was automatically put into an IRA, then the best place to start searching for it is with the investment company, which is something the employer can tell you.

If no luck, then you can look for it online on the Abandoned Plan Search. This is a database of companies that accepts transfers of small balances from 401k plans.

Terminated

According to the U.S. Labor Department, 1,650 401(k) plans are abandoned each year.

Companies terminate 401k plans for a range of reasons, but law requires the transfer of all accounts to the participants. However, if they cannot locate or contact you, then the money can be sent to an IRA or even to a state’s unclaimed property fund,

If you think your IRA  might have been turned over to the state, search the unclaimed database for the state that you were working in at the time. If you worked for a corporation, it may also be worth checking the state where the retirement plan’s administrator was located.

Here are some resources for finding your possibly lost retirement plan:

Recommended Articles

How to Eat Right Now, According to Science

Trends come and go in the medical community. In the 1950s, many doctors recommended eating pure lard; can you imagine a doctor advising that to a modern patient? As new

Under Biden Some Stocks Win, Others Will Fall Back

After a negative performance in 2020 the energy sector has accelerated based on President Biden’s energy actions, including the suspension of new oil and gas permits on federal lands and

7 Ways to Prevent Car Theft from Happening to You

The average price of a brand-new car is $40,000. It’s a significant investment. Still, its amazing how careless car owners can be when it comes to protecting their investments. In

6 Ways Using Home Equity Money Can Make You Richer

Using home equity can make your richer, believe it or not. Yes, it's a loan, but it's the lowest cost loan you can get, thanks to the fact that it's

What are Diamonds Really Worth? Zero, Zilch, Nada

Rough, unprocessed diamonds could be mistaken for pebbles. In other words, a diamond’s true value can only be realized through a skill-intensive cutting and aesthetic crafting process. However, the truth

6 Ways to Make Quick Money Using Your Smartphone

Your smartphone helps you communicate, obtain online information, keep your day organized, and even watch videos and play interactive games. But it can also become your money-making instrument, if you

15 Health Benefits of Raw Honey

We just can’t stop talking about raw honey. This incredible natural remedy has so many uses, we feel like we can’t live without it! Here are 15 of the best

7 Common Car Accessories That Waste Your Money

Some people’s identities are inextricably connected to their cars, and their car accessories, too. That is why buying non-essential or useless car accessories can be impossible for some people to

5 Superfood Seeds That Boost Beauty in No Time

Dealing with skin issues is not fun or easy, especially when it’s not always evident as to what the cause is. Hormones, inflammation, and food allergies are some of the

Just Turned 50? 5 Steps That Prepare You for Retirement

Did you just turn 50? Then you have a lot to plan for the future. And if you haven’t started planning or saving for retirement, you need to start now.

organic food cost

Is Extra Organic Food Cost vs. Regular Food Worthwhile?

The decision to choose organic produce over foods treated with pesticides is a real problem for the modern shopper with many options. Organic food cost can be higher — between

The One Thing That Could Tank Stocks

It has been quite an impressive market turnaround since the depth of the downturn back in March 2020, but the one big risk facing investors that they may not be