Finding Your Lost Pension & 401(k) Funds

Finding Your Lost Pension & 401(k) Funds

People change jobs many times over a working career. Women marry and change their name over their working careers, many more than once. Adults move on with their lives, sometimes to another city, perhaps you moved across state lines. Some workers will venture across country borders forgetting they were at a particular employer long enough to have become vested with a pension benefit. As the years pass, when they don't leave a forwarding address, it becomes harder to find them and remind them of these waiting benefits, if not impossible.

What is the financial result of these minor failures to maintain contact with old employer oversights? According to government records, more than $86 million languishes in unclaimed pension benefits that nearly 37,000 retirees are owed. Most of these workers are unaware they ever earned the benefits in the first place. Others may feel they've got retirement money coming to them but have long since ceased contact with former employers, which in the meantime may have merged, dissolved or been sold.

A federal corporation created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, known as the PBGC, protects the pensions of 44 million American workers and retirees just like you. One daunting task they are entrusted with is to track down and match missing participants with waiting pension monies. It has been reported due to their efforts that 22,356 retirees are earned pension money richer because of their due diligence.

Amounts languishing in unclaimed pension type accounts vary from a reported $255,554 to a meager $1.09. If you are the average account holder, your balance would be in the range of $5,300, still a nice addition to your income in any amount.

A second source is the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits (NRURB). They are responsible with keeping over 50,000 individual retirement accounts for individuals who have forgotten 401(k), profit sharing and other company sponsored plan balances that have been abandoned. These assets are invested in the most conservative low yielding vehicles available, CD's and Money Market funds. Abandoned 401(k) type accounts here usually range in the more modest $600-$1,000 range.

A quick way to see if you have monies waiting would be to check the following websites. Keep your Social Security number handy (or those of your retiree aged parents and relatives) to see if any forgotten benefits are awaiting a claim.


After all it is only money...YOURS!