Have You Been Ghosted By Some of Your Retirement Funds?

Losing track of retirement funds is a common problem in today’s world of corporate consolidations and job switching by employees.

As of May 2023, there were approximately 29.2 million forgotten 401k accounts in the United States that held approximately $1.65 trillion in assets. The recent increase in job switching, has increased the number of forgotten 401ks (which has grown by more than 20% since May 2021).

Here are some ways to locate and reclaim lost retirement accounts:

  1. Check with past employers. If you’ve changed jobs throughout your career, it’s important to follow up with past employers to make sure you didn’t leave any money behind.
  2. Search unclaimed property databases. Sometimes people lose track of their retirement savings when they move and forget to notify past employers of their new address. When an employer or financial institution is unable to reach an accountholder, it may turn over the account to the state’s unclaimed property office.
  3. Check the Department of Labor (DOL) abandoned plan database. If your past employer’s plan was terminated, the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration consolidates information about unclaimed retirement benefits and makes it easy to track down missing funds.
  4. Contact the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The PBGC can be a great resource if you lost track of a defined benefit pension plan at a previous employer.  Visit pbgc.gov for more information.
  5. Track down forgotten IRAs. If you think you may have abandoned an IRA along the way, take inventory of past bank and investment account statements for any evidence of the account. You can also reach out directly to any financial institutions you’ve worked with in the past to inquire about any inactive or dormant IRAs associated with your name.

Remember it’s your money and while it might take a little work to find it and reclaim it, it belongs to you. You would be surprised at the size of some of the accounts our clients have been able to locate after putting in just a little effort.