Retirement Hack: Don’t Be One of Millions Leaving Forgotten 401(k) Money on the Table

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The average American could need anywhere from $550,000 to $1 million dollars for retirement, according to GOBankingRates. If you’re trying to build your nest egg, every extra dollar might help.

See: Here’s Exactly How Much Savings You Need To Retire in Your State
Find: Experts — Here’s How Much You Should Have in Your Retirement Account at Every Stage of Life

A study by Capitalize found that 24.3 million people may have left as much as $1.35 trillion in money behind in forgotten 401(k) funds. And that number grows by $2.8 million per year, CNBC reported.

If you have a forgotten 401(k), perhaps from a previous employer, you could be missing out on an average of $700,000 for your retirement, the study discovered.

CNBC offered advice to find that last money. First, search any old or current email accounts for old 401(k) plan statements. If you don’t find anything, contact your past employer’s human resources, benefits or accounting department. They can check old 401(k) records. You may need to provide your full name, Social Security number and your dates of employment with the company.

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If that doesn’t work, search the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits, located here, to see if you have missing funds. You can also check the FreeERISA website for unclaimed accounts.

The U.S. Department of labor offers a free Abandoned Plan Search, which you’ll find here. The site lets you search for plans that have been terminated.

Once you’ve uncovered those lost funds, you can roll them over into an existing IRA account or open a new account to invest the found money.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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