How to Find Your Lost 401(k) + Retirement Saving Tips

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Investing in 401(k) accounts is a great way to plan for the future. However, when you find a new career and forget about your old account, you’re leaving money on the table. Research even suggests that lost 401(k)s hold over $1 trillion in unclaimed assets. 

If you need to find a forgotten 401(k) check out our guide below to find out what to do. We’ve also included several retirement savings tips to help you prepare for a comfortable future.

Locating an Old 401(k)

Finding your old 401(k) can get complicated depending on when you last worked for your old employer. If you just quit your job recently, it will likely be easier to locate than if you transferred jobs a decade ago.

To find your old account, follow these steps:

  1. Reach out to your previous employer: Contact the human resources department in your old job and they should be able to navigate you to your lost account.
  2. Take a look at your old 401(k) statements: Sometimes it can be difficult to contact your old employer. Your statements should provide some helpful information about who you should reach out to next. 
  3. Reference unclaimed asset databases: If you’re having trouble contacting your previous employer, here are several databases which might have more information about your lost 401(k): FreeERISA, U.S. Department of Labor and The National Registry

Once you’ve followed the above steps, you should be reunited with your old 401(k) assets in no time.

What to Do With Your Funds

After securing your 401(k) funds, you want to make sure that you put them in a safe place. If you leave funds in your old account, you risk losing track of them all over again. Instead, here are some options to keep your finances organized:

  • Transfer funds to an IRA
  • Invest in an Annuity
  • Combine your old 401(k) account with your current 401(k)

Whatever you decide to do with your funds, it’s important that you keep your money in a safe spot so you can afford your desires in retirement.

Investing in a Comfortable Retirement

It’s important to save and invest now so that you can live comfortably in the future. Some helpful investment options include 401(k)s and IRAs. Each retirement account has its pros and cons.

For example, while IRAs provide more investment options than 401(k) accounts, there’s no employer to match your contributions. On the other hand, while 401(k) accounts provide compound interest, they’re easier to lose when you move jobs often.

In some cases, you may want to invest in both a 401(k) and an IRA to cover all of your bases.

Remember that when you’re saving for retirement it’s important to think about:

  • Your goal retirement number: How much money do you need to live comfortably in your golden years? That’s the goal you should be saving and investing toward.
  • When you want to retire: Determining which age you want to retire by helps you realize how much money you should be saving each month.
  • Your risk tolerance: Before you invest in anything, you should acknowledge how much money you’re willing to lose. This will help you determine what investments to make moving forward.

If you’re interested in online trading, that’s another path you could take to build wealth. Just remember to do your homework and research the best investment strategies before you start.

Closing Thoughts

It’s all-too-easy to lose a 401(k) when you move jobs. To locate your missing funds, simply contact your employer or search unclaimed property databases until you’ve located your account. To learn more about investing in a comfortable retirement, check out Annuity’s guide below.


I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

Join our list for exclusive tips, content and a welcome gift – our ebook on how to engage your team and boost profits.