Cant find your old Pension Plans or Retirement Plans?

Hello RE Nation,

So, maybe you only worked at one or two places your entire life, and you may have decided before leaving the company to sign up for an account to be able to review your benefits (by the way this is something that everyone should do as an employee anyway to ensure that you are aware of and taking full advantages of all benefits that may apply to you), so you have kept track of your retirement accounts.  Great. 

But what about if you have been the employee that made its mark on multiple companies in your work life you just may have left behind with that company or who knows how many others, a piece of your current and future wealth. We just helped an individual reconnect with an old Pension Plan, that they completely forgot was even in existence.  Nice chunk of change that they were completely entitled to.

You may not even remember all the companies that you worked for.  This article from the Wall Street Journal shares some avenues you can use to track down your old 401K or your old Pension Plan.  Here is the link - Whatever Happened to That Old 401(k) You Had.

This information from a table in the article may or may not come through as you link to it - so here are some resources suggested by the article that may be able to help you track your old retirement plan down:

- Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration's Participant & Compliance Outreach, Education & Assistance Program: www.askebsa.dol.gov  - 1-866-444-3272
- Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: www.PBGC.gov  - 1-800-400-7242
- Pension Counseling Projects:  www.pensionrights.org/find-help

- Keep at least one copy of your previous resume on file it can offer you a timeline over your working life.  This should document the companies you worked for over time.
- If you keep your tax records you should also have that contact information from your W2 record. 
- I also recommend that you keep a spreadsheet - or a black book / digital record - however you keep records - that list in sequence your employers as soon as you start your first job - List the company name, address, job title (update this with promotions), date you started, date you terminated, the names of your bosses or supervisors. List your starting income and your ending income.  List your major accomplishment while at that company - preferably in $saved if possible.  This also comes in handy for networking, and eases the creation of your future resumes. (Why is this on a finance blog - duh - the primary input to your personal finances is earnings.)   The update of this document should be something you do in your quarterly financial update.  
- For folks that do everything online - you can set up alerts on the companies you are employed with or were employed with so that should your old employer merge, you will know the name of the new company.  If your old employer goes defunct - you can immediately attempt to communicate and get access to whatever 401(K) or Pension Plan you may have had there.  

Of course, talk with your financial advisor, but if you are not the sort of person who will keep up with these things - you may want to do a rollover of your 401(K) when you leave a company.    

Share with the RE nation in the comments section, if you  have had problems tracking down an old 401K or Pension Plan and how you were able to resolve it.  Also, if the information shared here has helped you locate your retirement funds, share with the RE nation any information you can.

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