Left your 401(k) at an old job? Here’s how to find it.
Do you know where your money is ? If you changed jobs in the last decade, you may be among the millions who unintentionally and unwittingly abandoned a 401 ( kilobyte ). time to retrieve it and take command. But how ? Americans lost track of more than $ 7.7 billion in retirement savings in 2015, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. If you ’ ve lost an account, don ’ triiodothyronine feel bad. Some folks good need to drop everything and race out the door when quitting a job. Others are distracted by a go or swept up in transition. Most folks ’ 401 ( thousand ) s aren ’ metric ton at the lapp bank or brokerage they use for early accounts. And many don ’ thymine wangle the investments in their plan directly. When it comes to nest eggs, out of batch much means out of mind.
More: Follow USA TODAY Money & Tech on Facebook More: 6 ways to measure if your retirement plan is on racetrack More: Sales of bulletproof backpacks surge after Florida fritter, but how effective are they ? But good newsworthiness : that money is still yours ! It may be with your old employer, or possibly it ’ second in an IRA. If your money was invested, it should still be growing. But leaving honest-to-god plans with honest-to-god employers can have downsides. Fees could be senior high school. Investments made years ago could be identical incorrect for today. There could be inefficient overlap with your other accounts. scatter accounts are besides inconvenient. Managing or living off your retirement savings is easier if it ’ mho all in one target. And once you retire, tracking down multiple accounts and analyzing which ones to tap is a hassle.
so track them down now. Contact old employers to see if you left funds behind. And check old statements for contact information. There are besides websites that can help. To find your old employer ’ s stream reach data, try this web site. Check the Labor Department to see if your old plan was terminated. A former employer may even be trying to reunite you with your money, so look at this web site to see. once you ’ ve found everything, it ’ south time to consolidate. You by and large have two options : Roll erstwhile plans into one IRA or possibly you roll them into your current 401 ( kilobyte ) and take advantage of options in that plan. Which is correct for you ? Depends. If your employer ’ sulfur plan has reasonable fees and uses an investment adviser held to the government ’ s fiduciary standard, a 401 ( k ) amalgamation could make the most common sense, and that ’ s specially true if your company gives you access to investment professionals who can help you make ache decisions. Staying on racetrack for retirement goals can be unmanageable without a fiscal coach. If that bus is a fiduciary, they ’ re legally required to put your interests first. If you already have a trustworthy fiscal adviser, the IRA rollover approach may be best. Some 401 ( kelvin ) south have limited investment options. Some, deplorably, lack good service and support. Rolling your old accounts to an IRA can give you a broader range of investment choices. But beware when seeking advice. Some brokers and non-fiduciaries encourage rollovers, then prod you to buy pricey and inappropriate funds that pay them extraordinary commissions. Worse, they may peddle you an annuity. Annuities in IRAs or 401 ( kilobyte ) randomness are beyond nitwitted because they are tax-deferred, so the annuity ’ s tax shelter is pleonastic. That ’ s on top of the omnipresent nasty problems with variable and index annuities. Whatever you decide, the next step is contacting the companies managing your erstwhile 401 ( thousand ) s. They ’ ll tell you how to move the money. carefully follow their instructions. Some firms do this plan-to-plan — seamless ! If they send you a check, get the funds into a retirement report within 60 days — otherwise you could incur tax penalties. And that ’ s it. When everything is merged, you can work on your own or with your adviser to make certain the money is invested right for your goals and needs.
Tracking down misplace savings takes some work. But it ’ south worth it. Everything will be centralized. You ’ ll probable save money on fees. It all will work toward your ultimate retirement goals. You will soon thank yourself. Ken Fisher is the founder and executive chair of Fisher Investments, author of 11 books, four of which were “ New York Times ” bestsellers, and is No. 200 on the Forbes 400 list of rich Americans. Follow him on Twitter @ KennethLFisher The views and opinions expressed in this column are the writer ’ mho and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY .