Over the course of your career, you’ll likely switch jobs a handful of times. Each time you transition to a new employer, however, you need to also secure any funds you left in an employer-sponsored 401(k). If you forget to do so, you risk losing track of your retirement funds.
While your money won’t simply disappear, as the years roll by, your 401(k) can become harder to locate. In order to help you track down your lost 401(k) and prepare for your future retirement, we’ve created a comprehensive guide below.
3 Steps to Find Your 401(k)
The first step to locating your old 401(k) is to contact your old employer’s HR department. Once you get a hold of an HR representative, they’ll be able to help you find your old retirement account.
In some cases, however, your old employer might be harder to contact. For example, your old company might have filed for bankruptcy or been acquired by another company. In this situation, you’d want to retrieve your past 401(k) statements. These statements should have contact information that helps you get a hold of your current plan administrator.
If you don’t have any luck with the above two steps, then it’s time to check unclaimed property databases such as The National Registry, the US Department of Labor and FreeERISA. Using your social security number and account information, you’ll be able to comb these resources to find your missing 401(k) funds.
How to Secure Your Funds
Once you’ve located your old 401(k), you want to ensure that you don’t lose your funds again. To keep track of your money, you could rollover your funds into an IRA account or combine your old 401(k) with your current account. You can even invest your 401(k) money into an annuity if you’re looking for a steady stream of income in retirement.
How to Save For Retirement
As you plan ahead for retirement, it’s important to survey all of your saving and investment options. For example, it’s often a smart idea to envision your ideal retirement, establish a goal sum of money you’d like to work towards and budget accordingly.
Some savings strategies you may use include:
- Starting a side hustle
- Creating a budget
- Outlining a retirement timeline
- Investing in 401(k)s, IRAs or annuities
- Starting online trading
Before you invest in either a 401(k) or an IRA, remember to think about your risk tolerance and how soon you’re wanting to retire. If you’re needing to retire sooner rather than later, then you should probably avoid taking risky investments. If retirement is still decades away, then you have more room to make risky investments along the way.
Investing in 401(k)s is a great way to accumulate wealth for retirement, but you don’t want to lose track of your account when you find a new job. So long as you follow the steps above, however, you should be reunited with your old 401(k) in no time. Check out the infographic below to learn more about saving and investing for a financially stable future.
The Infographic, and this post, are supplied by Annuity.com