How to Find Out If You Had a 401(k)

A 401(k) retirement program is an employer-sponsored program that allows you to contribute a certain percentage of your paycheck into the program each pay period. The money is deducted from your paycheck automatically before it is taxed. Some employers will match this contribution up to a certain percent or amount. If you leave your employer, there are certain ways for you to handle your 401(k). There have been times where someone left an employer and forgot they had an account. You can find out if you had a 401(k) plan by following a certain process.

Locate your entire list of previous employers. Determine which of the previous companies you worked for may have had a 401(k) program set up for you. Once you have the entire list of companies see if you can find any old 401(k) statements from these companies. The statements will have contact information on them.

Review all of your old pay stubs. Your old pay stubs will determine if money may have been coming out of your paycheck and going into a 401(k). The most recent pay stubs will prove to be the most helpful because they will have the most up to date information.

Call the human resource department for each company. A representative in human resources will refer to the plan administrator. This is usually an outside organization responsible for administrating the 401(k ) program. The administrator keeps track of all records, including balances, contributions and withdrawals.

Check known websites. Go to Free Erisa and see if your plan administrator has filed the plan with the Federal Department of Labor, according to Kiplinger magazine. The information will be located on form 5500 and should include contact information.

Search the Department of Labor database for abandoned 401k plans. This website (www.askebsa.dol.gov/abandonedplansearch) provides you with the means to review information based on the name of the plan or your employer's name, according to Kiplinger. Enter the plan name, name of your employer, city, state and zip code then hit the button labeled, “Search for plan”. To search by terminated plan enter the name of qualified terminated administrator, city, state and zip code then hit the button labeled, “Search for QTA”.

Get help from the Pension Rights Center. This website will help you determine if you had a 401(k) retirement plan with an employer and provide help locating it , according to Kiplinger. Access the website at Pension Rights.org.

Tips

  • When you leave a company make sure you update your new address with the plan administrator.