Most people will have several different jobs in their lives and move a around at least a little. This can make it difficult when you are trying to prepare for your retirement years because you may have to track everything down to find out if and when you will be able to afford to stop working. You must consolidate your retirement money in order to prepare for this day and the first step is to find out exactly what you have.
Get Paperwork Ready to Consolidate Your Retirement Money
It can be overwhelming to suddenly realize that you have no idea where all of your files are regarding any accounts that you may have. This can be especially true if you have moved several times.
Sit down and make a list, thinking back to each employer, of all of the accounts you have participated. You can also check through old paper files and emails that you might have gotten from these companies. Remember it’s not just retirement account paperwork; you are looking for all of the assets that might contribute to you being able to consolidate your retirement money. You have to find it all first!
Find Assets and Get Closer To Consolidating Your Retirement Money
Once you have collected all of the information that is easily found, then you might wonder if there could be any other money waiting to be discovered. With each different type of fund available, there are different ways to locate it. Let’s look at a couple of ways to make this easier.
- Different Stock Accounts
If you had a retirement plan set up through an employer or even on your own, you can look up the company name and see if they are still owned by the same institution. This information will also tell you who to contact for more information about the custodian of this account. If you can’t find any paperwork for your contributions or distributions that you took then you can contact the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), and they may have a record of it.
- Insurance Policies
If you, or someone else, purchased any life insurance policies in your name then you can track down information on it as long as you know the name of the company it is through. There are services online that can search for lost insurance policies as well, but it’s much easier if anyone can recall the name of the carrier. Then, you can easily find out if there is cash value in it.
- Savings Bonds
This is one of the easiest things for you to get information on when you are trying to consolidate your retirement money. The federal government actually has a website set up just for this purpose. Go to www.treasurydirect.gov and it let you search for all of your bonds and gives you information on their maturity. In addition, if you still own any bonds in paper form, you can cash them in if they have reached maturity or you can switch them over to electronic so you don’t ever have to worry about losing a piece of paper again.
- Old Accounts or Boxes
Any bank accounts that you may have held previously should still be available by checking with NAUPA. However, this might be a little bit more difficult if that original institution has changed hands. When this happens, your account would have been taken over by the FDIC. In the case of safe deposit boxes, the items would simply have been taken over by the new institution. After they have held your items for too long, they hand them over to a department in your state that handles unclaimed assets. You can check this with the FDIC.
Other Money to Factor in To Your Retirement Fund
When you are attempting to consolidate your retirement money, it is also important to add in any other income that you can look forward to. Many companies these days don’t have a set up pension plan for their retirees, but it’s still worth checking. In addition, pay attention to any other pension plans that you might be eligible for through your previous employers.
Also, you should be careful not to forget about Social Security payments. The chances are good, if you have been working most of your life, that you are eligible to receive at least some money every month from this department. It’s also a good idea to check with the administration department so that you can verify that they have added in the income from all of your jobs over the years.
As you can see, preparing to consolidate your retirement money can be an in depth process, but it’s certainly well worth your time. With just a little bit of effort on your part, you can have a comfortable retirement ahead of you and enjoy your twilight years.