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Do you have a lost 401(k)?

November 10, 2021

Recently, I was having a conversation with a potential client about their retirement accounts. He mentioned that he had a lost 401(k), so I inquired, and it turns out that he’s had several employers over the last 15 years and left his account in his former employer’s 401(k) plan. Typically having a lost 401(k) account, the employer must maintain custody of it and send you plan updates and account details. So the consolidation process is pretty straightforward: I’ll speak with him about his former employer or names of the former employers, research where the employers’ custody their company-sponsored retirement plans, and unravel the process to roll over the accounts if appropriate.

After finding the custodian for each account, we’ll walk through the process with the new client.  Typically, we connect the client with the custodian of the lost 401(k) retirement plan. The provider does authentication and speaks with the client, asking them a couple of questions, specifically around the tax disclosure, their marital status, and then distributing the assets to the client.  There are a few steps that we can streamline to get you your money, not leave a lost 401(k) out there in the money-verse.  Don’t forget – this rollover process is a reportable event to the IRS but not taxable.

We work behind the scenes to supply our clients with an individual retirement account, an associated account number at an independent custodian, and detailed instructions to the 401(k)-plan custodian.  Their requirements to create a paper trail are to cut a check in the name of the client’s custodian for the benefit of the client, using the provided account number, and the provider mails the check to the client for deposit into their new individual retirement account or existing rollover IRA.

How many hours in your day?  Do you want to stay on the phone for 45-60 minutes to get a rollover accomplished?  Is this a rollover or a distribution?  Did you retire early, or were you let go from your job? We can clarify these questions and simplify life for busy investors as we go through our process to help investors find lost 401(k) accounts. In addition, we’ve helped many clients consolidate assets to one custodian to avoid the wagon wheel effect (or diversified provider challenge).

Is this one of your concerns?  Let us know; we’ll be happy to walk you through the process and incorporate your lost 401(k) accounts into your retirement plan.  Need or want assistance in your lost 401(k) search?  Send your questions to us at or call us today at (813) 819-3400.

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