Lost Your Old 401(k)? Here’s How to Find It

AUGUST 18, 2017

Impossible as it may seem, Americans misplaced $7.76 billion in 2015.1 How? By switching jobs or financial institutions and unwittingly leaving assets behind.

The majority of unclaimed money comes from brokerage, checking and savings accounts, along with annuities, 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts.

Companies are required by law to mail abandoned funds to the owner’s last known address. If they’re returned or the owner can’t be reached, the assets must be relinquished to the state.

The good news is that it’s relatively painless to locate lost funds. Online resources such as missingmoney.com and unclaimed.org allow you to search for assets in any states in which you’ve lived or worked. And if you do find money that’s owed to you, it’s often as easy as filling out a simple online form to get it back.

Darin Bostic and James Koller, two Orlando, Florida-based Schwab financial planners, point out that the best way to keep track of your funds is not to lose them in the first place. “Consolidating similar accounts, such as old and new 401(k)s, can help you keep track of your savings,” says Darin.

“What’s more, consolidation helps ensure your assets are working in harmony toward your long-term goals,” says James. “It’s difficult to follow a comprehensive investment strategy when your money is spread out all over the place.”

The bottom line: Consolidating your accounts can help ensure none of your hard-earned money goes missing.

1National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

Important Disclosures

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own particular situation before making any investment decision.

All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions. Data contained herein from third-party providers are obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, their accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.

This information does not constitute and is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal or investment planning advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, Schwab recommends consultation with a qualified tax advisor, CPA, financial planner or investment manager.