Broker Check

Find That Lost Retirement Account

Retirement Read Time: 3 min

Find That Lost Retirement Account

Do you have a long-lost retirement account left with a former employer? Maybe it’s been so long that you can’t even remember. With over 24 million “forgotten” 401(k) accounts holding roughly $1.35 trillion in assets, even the most organized professional may be surprised to learn that they have unclaimed “found” money.1

What Are “Forgotten” Retirement Accounts?

Considering that baby boomers alone have worked an average of 12 jobs in their lifetimes, it can be all too easy for retirement accounts to get lost in the shuffle.2 Think back to your first job. Can you remember what happened to your work-sponsored retirement plan? If you’re even slightly unsure, then it’s time to go looking for your potentially forgotten funds.

Starting Your Search

One of the best ways to find lost retirement accounts is to contact your former employers. If you’re unsure where to direct your call, try the human resources or accounting department. They should be able to check their plan records to see if you’ve ever participated. However, you will most likely be asked to provide your full name, Social Security number, and the dates you worked, so be sure to come prepared.

If your former employer is no longer around, look for an old account statement. Often, these will have the contact information for the plan administrator. If you don’t have an old statement, consider reaching out to former coworkers who may have the information you need.

Even if these first steps don’t turn up much info, they can help you gather important information.

Websites to Check

Next, it’s time to take your search online. Make sure you have as much information as possible at hand and give the following resources a try.

National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits

This database uses employer and Department of Labor data to determine if you have any unpaid or lost retirement account money. Like most of these online tools, you’ll need to provide your Social Security number, but no additional information is required.3

FreeERISA

If your forgotten account was worth more than $1,000 but less than $5,000, it might have been rolled into a default traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Employers create default IRAs when a former employee can’t be located or fails to respond when contacted. You can search for retirement and IRA accounts for free using this database, but registration is required.4

Once you reach age 73, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from a traditional IRA in most circumstances. Withdrawals from traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10 percent federal income tax penalty.

The U.S. Department of Labor

Finally, the Department of Labor tracks plans that have been abandoned or are in the process of being terminated. Try searching its database to find the qualified termination administrator (QTA) responsible for directing the shutdown of the plan.5

What’s Next?

Once you’ve found your retirement account, what you do with it depends on the type of plan and where it’s held. Your location also matters. Depending on where you live, the rules and regulations may differ.

No matter what you decide to do, be sure to involve your tax and financial professionals since they’ll be informed on current regulations for your state. They can also help you identify a strategy for your newfound money: travel, investment, or maybe that vacation home you’ve always wanted. You worked hard for that money, after all, so you should get to enjoy it!

1. Kiplinger.com, August 27, 2021
2. USNews.com, October 22, 2021
3. UnclaimedRetirementBenefits.com, 2022
4. FreeERISA.BenefitsPro.com, 2022
5. DOL.gov, 2022

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Have a Question?

Sam Duffey
Sam Duffey
Ashford Brokerage, CA License #0J09024, AR License #15480533 Director of Brokerage Sales
http://www.incomeisimportant.com (205) 843-9434

Introducing Income Protection Made Simple

In every stage of life, the sudden halt of income or cash flow can have a profound impact on our lifestyle and hinder progress towards future financial goals. As a seasoned professional in the insurance industry, I understand the importance of safeguarding what many believe is ones most important financial resource, and that's where I come in.

I collaborate closely with financial professionals, serving as a valuable partner to enhance their existing carrier relationships and offer comprehensive protection against unforeseen circumstances like untimely death, injury, or illness.

Through my unique KNOW - SHOW - FLOW service, financial professionals experience a seamless process that empowers them to:

KNOW: Stay informed about the most prevalent and relevant cases we encounter, enabling them to make well-informed decisions for their clients.

SHOW: Master the art of strategizing and implementing protection plans with ease, even providing the option for joint meetings if necessary, to foster client understanding and confidence.

FLOW: Leverage our innovative agency marketing website and cutting-edge tools that enable them to scale their business to new heights.

Our offerings encompass a range of insurance products tailored to individual needs:

1) Disability Income: Provides crucial protection for earning professionals against the unexpected impacts of injury or illness on their income.

2) Term Life: Ensures the continuity of future income for loved ones in the event of the untimely passing of a breadwinner.

3) Whole Life: Establishes a lasting legacy benefit and serves as a reliable retirement distribution strategy.

When working with our brokerage team, success takes on a clear and tangible form. We strive to empower financial professionals to engage with clients confidently about income protection, streamlining the new business process, and unveiling new markets as well as sales ideas that lead to substantial business growth.

Our ultimate objective is to equip you with the tools and knowledge necessary to protect your clients' financial well-being comprehensively. As a result, you'll find new ease in processing business, discover expanded market opportunities, and experience unmatched satisfaction as you witness your business scale to unprecedented heights.

Join us in making Income Protection Made Simple a reality for your clients and your professional success. Let's work together to secure their dreams and create a more secure financial future for all.