Don't forget old retirement accounts or pensions
Many people forget about their old workplace retirement accounts when switching jobs. In fact, USA Today reported that in 2015 alone, Americans lost track of more than $7.7 billion in retirement assets from old 401(k)s, pensions and other workplace retirement plans.1
If you recently lost or changed jobs, consider rolling over your old workplace retirement into an IRA or your new employer's retirement plan if available.
If it's been several years since you left an employer and you've lost track of a "defined contribution" retirement plan like a 401(k), contact that employer. If they're still in business and managing a plan for employees, they might be able to help you. Alternatively, contact the financial firm—often a big one like Prudential, Vanguard or Fidelity—that managed your former employer's plan. If the program is still active, your assets might be available under your name. (If you can't do either of these, use the Department of Labor's Abandoned Plan Search Opens in new window tool.)
Finally, if you have a forgotten, missing or unclaimed pension, contact the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Opens in new window.
Beware of fees—and scams
Third-party services might contact you with offers to help find your unclaimed property for a fee. These services might be legal businesses—or totally illegitimate operations2 that will take your money and run. But remember: You can get your unclaimed money back for free as long as you go through your state's official government program.
To avoid fees and scams, always start the claim process yourself, and treat questionable offers like "spam" calls and emails: Don't open unsolicited links or talk with unexpected callers.