401k from former employee

About 30 years ago as a young 20-something, I invested in a 401k with my employer. When I left this company, I chose the option to leave the money in the 401k there. If I had any paperwork about it, it is long gone.

Over time, this company merged with other companies, I think twice. I contacted the company recently about how to obtain my money, which was thankfully not a lot at time but I know it might have increased over time. They ignored my calls.

Is this money gone for good? I’m preparing to retire soon and would like to track it down if possible.

1 Like

No not gone forever. Do you remember the name of the company that handled the 401K ? Not meaning your employer. But the financial company itself. If you do try calling them up instead of your old employer.

Yes, even financial companies merge and go out of business, but your 401K is out there.

1 Like

Agree with @big.lew. Your money is out there.

Here’s a Q&A @robin.hartill, CFP®, did with a reader who lost track of their 401(k). A slightly different scenario, but a lot of Robin’s suggested next steps may be helpful in tracking down your money. Good luck!



Thank you!

Money doesn’t just disappear…First off your SSN is tied to the Old account. If you remember what institution it was with you should start there. Then if you know what the second company did with the rollover amounts it has to be logged somewhere. I guess an easy way to try to find out if the new company has “your” money is to call and (since they aren’t returning you calls) see if they are hiring, then ask if they have a retirement plan in “blank company”, say something like," I like company A, " they might say we invest in company B…and there you go…then call them. I’m no sleuth but these tactics work when trying to get honey vs receiving vinegar! Good luck!

Thanks! I have a new name and phone number to try. I tried the other suggestions and then ended up at https://www.freeerisa.com/. On this site, it’s possible to put in company names to find a form numbered 5500. This form gives the name of the Administrator and where the 401k is now (Fidelity). One of the sites I looked at said it’s possible the account was converted to an IRA somewhere along the way, so it might be elsewhere.

Fidelity doesn’t show they have my 401k, but had the current plan Administrator’s phone number.

Funny you should ask, @deanne. I used the information provided in this article back in 2013 to locate an old 401(k). This link still works from the Denver Post and includes some of the information other posters have also noted. I used ERISA to locate mine. Good luck. Here’s the link to that article:


1 Like

Here is the government site to help find old plans. https://www.askebsa.dol.gov/AbandonedPlanSearch/ - Make sure you do your research before making any transfers. Know the fees involved, make sure you don’t incur any penalties or tax consequences. Remember this is a tax-deferred account. You have many options, another 401K, Annuity, Etc. So, know what works best for you, your finances, and your lifestyle.

Good Luck!!


Wow, thanks to everyone for all the useful info!!