How to Find Old 401(k) Account:
When you join a company, the Employer has to provide you several benefits. These benefits include 401(k) Plan or Traditional Pension Plan. When you change your job from one company to another, you need to do some process for transferring your 401(k) account. If you don’t do anything or forget about it, your 401(k) account remains with your old employer.
Your new employer will provide you New 401(k) or any other retirement benefit as applicable. The new employer cannot add your old account with new one without transferring it from your old employer. In case you have not done anything in past few years, now its time to get back to your old 401(k) account. Here we will provide complete guidance about how to find an old 401(s) account in a simple and easier way.
What is 401(k) Plan/Account?
The 401(k) is a retirement plan provided by the Employer to its Employee(s) during his working years. The benefit of 401(k) plan is given to the employee at the time of retirement or when s/he is eligible for the benefit as per rules. In case the employee dies before retirement year, the 401(k) plan benefit will be given to the nominee of the employee as per rules.
How to Open 401(k) Account
When you join a firm or company as an employee, you automatically apply for a 401(k) account. You don’t need to apply for 401(k) as you apply for a bank account or deposit account. Your Employer has to provide your 401(k) or other retirement plan after you start working with his/her company. If you don’t know about it, you should ask your employer to provide you information about 401(k) plan and the fund available in your 401(k) account.
How to Check Contribution to 401(k)
Whether you are contributing your current 401(k) account or not. If you have the same doubt then here you will get its perfect solution. You just need to check your last year’s W-2 Form. Your contribution towards 401(k) account is mentioned in the box no. 12 of your W-2 Form. You should note the details to remember your contribution to 401(k) plan.
What If You have more than One 401(k) Account
Technically, one employee should not have more than one 401(k) account. One person may have more than one IRA Accounts, but not 401(k). It can happen when you are working with more than one company at a time. So your employer in each company may provide you 401(k) plan for retirement benefit. But you need to do a process to combine your 401(k) of all the companies you are working for.
In case you were working with a company and left it two years back. You didn’t do anything about your old 401(k). Now there are chances that you have two 401(k) accounts i.e. one with old employer and one with the new employer. In case you have changed so many jobs without transferring your 401(k), it is also possible that you have many 401(k) accounts and perhaps all those accounts are active with respective employers.
How to Find Old 401(k) Account
We have done a huge research to know the methods to find old 401(k) account. Here we provide some best methods as under:
Refer Old 401(k) Statement
In order to find your old 401(k) account, you should your 401(k) plan details, account number and employee ID. You should refer your old 401(k) statement and you will get all the information you need. Once your have your 401(k) account details then you can easily find it.
Contact Old Employer
Contacting your old employer is the easiest way to find your old 401(k) account. You should contact your old company’s HR department and ask them to provide your 401(k) plan and account details.
Read News and History of Company
It can happen that your old company does not exist now, you get to know about this by reading news about your company. It may have merged with other company for business growth or it’s purchased by a giant company. In such circumstances, you should contact the newly established company (HR department) and ask about a 401(k) account registered with your name. You may have to provide your Social Security Number to get your old 401(k) information.
Refer National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits
If your old 401(k) was inactive for more than one year, it may get listed as unclaimed. Your old employer may have listed you as a missing participant on National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits. You can find your old 401(k) account with help of your name and/or social security number.
Check Online Websites for Old 401(k)
The MissingMoney and freeERISA are free websites to find out your unclaimed retirement benefits. On MissingMoney Site, you need to provide your first name, last name and state name. On the basis of these details, it will find your old 401(k) account and other unclaimed retirement benefits.
On freeERISA Site, you have search the Form 5500 in the name of your old employer. If you succeed to find Form 5500 for an old 401(k) plan, it will have contact information. You should use the contact info to reach your former employer and get your 401(k) account.
Find Traditional Pension Plan
This method is only for those employees who were benefited under traditional pension plan. If your old employer has given you old pension plan then it has stopped functioning now. You should visit the website of Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to check your unclaimed pension benefit details.