Lost Your Old 401(k)? Here’s How to Find It

Impossible as it may seem, Americans misplace billions of dollars every year.1 How? By switching jobs or financial institutions and unwittingly leaving assets behind.

What happens if I have unclaimed 401k funds from a previous job?

The majority of unclaimed money comes from brokerage, checking and savings accounts, along with annuities, 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts. Companies are required by law to mail abandoned funds to the owner’s last known address. If they’re returned or the owner can’t be reached, the assets must be relinquished to the state.

How can I find my old 401k account?

The good news is that it’s relatively painless to locate lost funds in unclaimed 401k accounts. Online resources such as missingmoney.com and unclaimed.org allow you to search for assets in any states in which you’ve lived or worked. And if you do find money from an old 401k that’s owed to you, it’s often as easy as filling out a simple online form to get it back.

Darin Bostic, a Schwab financial planner, points out that the best way to keep track of your funds is not to lose them in the first place. “Consolidating similar accounts, such as old and new 401(k)s, can help you keep track of your savings,” says Darin.

What’s more, consolidation helps ensure your assets are working in harmony toward your long-term goals. It’s difficult to follow a comprehensive investment strategy when your money is spread out all over the place.

The bottom line

Consolidating your accounts can help ensure none of your hard-earned money goes missing. You can learn more about consolidating old 401k from previous jobs, and other current accounts here.

1National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.