Thousands have lost track of billions of dollars in savings.
At a time when many Americans are worried that they won’t have enough money to retire comfortably, thousands have lost track of billions of dollars in savings.
There are more than 24 million “forgotten” 401(k) accounts containing some $1.35 trillion in assets, according to a report from Capitalize, which helps workers roll over their retirement plans when they change jobs. Companies are also holding on to billions in unpaid pension payments earned by former employees.
The problem is so widespread that Congress is considering legislation to address it. “SECURE Act 2.0,” which includes a range of benefits and protections for retirement savers, would create a national online lost-and-found database to help people track down these orphaned plans.
Brian Stivers, owner of Stivers Financial Services, in Knoxville, Tenn., says he typically meets one to two new clients a month who are in this situation. Most of the time, they’ve changed jobs and forgotten about an old plan, usually because it had a small balance. Retirement plans are also misplaced when one spouse dies and the survivor is unaware of the spouse’s retirement accounts with former employers.
If you’ve lost track of a savings plan, search your files for old retirement account statements. These should provide some key data to help your search, such as your account number and contact information for the plan administrator. If you don’t have any statements, contact your former employer’s human resources department.