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Here's how to find out if you have unclaimed retirement benefits

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Posted at 5:12 PM, Jun 24, 2022

NORFOLK, Va. - Wouldn't it be great to find out that you have extra money sitting in an account somewhere? Millions of Americans are now learning that they do.

"A lot of people tend to leave behind some smaller retirement accounts at old employers, or bank accounts sometimes as well, when they move to a new location," said Kevin Zywna, president of Wealthway Financial Advisors.

Often times, retirement accounts are out of sight and out of mind and with a lot of people moving around the past few years, they can get lost in the shuffle.

Here's how Zywna said you can see if you have any money:

  1. Reach out to the human resource department and your former employer.
  2. Search online. The Virginia Department of the Treasury and the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits are just two trusted sites. They are also free. These websites can also alert you if you are a beneficiary on any accounts.
  3. Work with a financial advisor — although Zywna said you may only need a professional when it comes to claiming your money.

"Ideally, you want to keep [the funds] in their tax-protected wrapper, and transfer the assets from the retirement plan into either an IRA in your own name, or in a new 401k plan at your current place of employment," he said.
Zywna recommends consolidating your accounts if you get a new job so you don't forget about your money in the first place.

Related: Part of 'The Great Resignation'? What you should do with your 401k plan