401k: A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer that allows employees to contribute a portion of their salary to an individual account that is invested in a range of options such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Employers may also match employee contributions. Contributions and earnings on investments in a 401(k) account are not taxed until the money is withdrawn, providing a tax benefit for the employee. The 401(k) plan gets its name from the section of the Internal Revenue Code that created it.

A 401(k) recordkeeper is a company that provides administrative services for a 401(k) plan. These services include:

  • Enrolling employees in the plan.
  • Depositing employee contributions into the plan.
  • Investing employee contributions.
  • Calculating employee account balances.
  • Providing participants with account statements.
  • Administering the plan in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

How to find lost 401k assets:

If you can’t find information on your lost 401(k) assets, you can try searching one of the public databases for unclaimed assets. The National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits is a good place to start. Enter your Social Security number and you can see if there are any unclaimed retirement funds that belong to you. The money may still be held in a previous employer’s plan or the company may have opened a special IRA account in your name to hold the funds.

You can also search the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators site, which will help you track down unclaimed money you may be owed (not limited to retirement assets). Be sure to check each state you have lived or worked in.

Watch these FinStream TV streaming videos for free to learn more about investing in 401k plans to help you plan for retirement.