Dealing with orphan retirement accounts
In 2015, Americans lost track of an estimated $7.7 billion in retirement savings, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. If you’ve left an old job and not made provisions for your 401(k), you may be one of the millions with misplaced money.
You can leave your money invested in your 401(k) with your old employer if you’re happy with the fees and investment offerings, but make sure you monitor how the investment is performing and what you’re invested in. You also have other options, including rolling old plans into your 401(k) at your new job or rolling them into an IRA.
To decide what your best option is, talk with your past employers. If you have money invested in a 401(k) and the fees are high or investment options are limited, decide whether you’ll roll over the funds to the 401(k) at your new job or to an IRA. If necessary, open a new rollover IRA with a discount broker or roboadvisor, and ask plan administrators for your old plan to do a direct rollover.
Make sure money from your old 401(k) goes directly into your new 401(k) or IRA because you don’t want to be hit with penalties for early withdrawals, which could happen if money from the account is given to you and you don’t get it reinvested within 60 days.