401k on white paper

Missing a retirement account?


Maybe it should go without saying, but losing track of a 401(k) – or any other form of retirement account – makes it more difficult to understand all your assets and options when planning for retirement.

Given the changes to retirement plans over the last 30 years and the increased frequency of job change among workers, losing track of an employer-sponsored retirement plan can be more common than you might think. A quick series of job changes early in a career, a cross-country move, a former employer changing its name or going out of business all can lead to a forgotten retirement account.

Doing a search is the first step to finding a missing retirement account. Begin by contacting your former employer and requesting information about your retirement benefits. Human resources departments often have that information – a letter, email or phone call would all be appropriate – or, if not, can direct you to resource that does.

If you’re looking to track down a previous employer that went out of business or changed its name, a good place to start is the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). You’ll be looking for the plan’s most recent Form 5500 – it will contain the plan’s contact information and the employer’s identification number, which can be used to locate any plan that inherited the assets in a merger, acquisition or sale. You can perform a search of the DOL’s Form 5500 records here.

Part of the mission of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), a federal agency, is to assure the security of the retirement benefits of America's workers and their families. As such, they offer assistance in locating retirement accounts. EBSA maintains a toll free participant assistance line, 1-866-444-3272 and online consumer assistance at askebsa.dol.gov.

If you suspect you should be the recipient of a pension, but don’t know how to claim it or who to talk to, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, another federal agency, offers tools – and even publishes a guide titled “Finding a Lost Pension"

The Pension Rights Center is a nonprofit organization “committed to protecting and promoting the retirement security of American workers, retirees, and their families.” It offers a number of free resources – including free legal assistance to individuals experiencing problems with their pensions, profit sharing or retirement savings plans.

A Waddell & Reed financial advisor can also help you track down retirement accounts you may have lost – and then help you incorporate those accounts into your retirement planning strategy. Contact one today!

This information is provided for informational and educational purposes only. Waddell & Reed believes the information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. This information is not meant to be a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making financial or investment decisions and does not constitute a recommendation.

Please note that the information provided may include references to concepts that have legal, accounting and tax implications. It is not to be construed as legal, accounting or tax advice, and is provided as general information to you to assist in understanding the issues discussed. Neither Waddell & Reed, Inc., nor its Financial Advisors give tax, legal, or accounting advice.

This information is not meant as financial or investment advice pertaining to your personal situation. The selection of appropriate investment, insurance or planning options and/or strategies should be made on an individual basis after consultation with appropriate legal, tax and financial advisors. Nothing contained herein is intended as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any product or service mentioned and they may not be suitable for all investors.

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Associated Tags: Retirement

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