How to Check 401(k) Balance?
Knowing how to check how much is your 401(k) can help calculate your net worth. Additionally, checking your 401(k) balance ensures your investments are performing, helping you reach your retirement goals.
Monitoring your finances should be cemented in your overall personal finance strategy. Whether it be your budget, credit profile, or retirement accounts, knowing where you stand is essential in determining your financial health. Some, like your bank accounts and credit, are relatively easy to monitor. However, figuring out how to check 401(k) balances can be more difficult.
Like your car, your 401(k) needs regular maintenance. Without it, it may not perform as well or will no longer fit your overall investment strategy anymore.
You can find your 401(k) balance by logging into your 401(k) plans online portal and check how your 401(k) is performing. If you don’t have access to your account online, contact your HR department and make sure your quarterly statements are being sent to the correct address.
Checking your 401(k) too frequently can cause overwhelm and panic when the market isn't performing well. Dips and peaks are typical for any long-term retirement investment. Checking your 401(k) balances at least once a year will help you gauge how it fits in your retirement strategy.
Let’s look into how to check how much is in your 401(k), what to look for, and how often you should be checking.
Locate Where Your 401(k)s Are
Before you can check how much is in your 401(k) account, you need to know where your 401(k)s are.
The first place to look is the company with whom you're currently working. Many companies have implemented auto-enrollment into their 401(k) plans, ensuring that most of their employees contribute to their retirement. Otherwise, participation may drop because they simply forgot or didn't know it was available.
Contact your human resources department to get information on if you're contributing to their 401(k) and your account information.
Additionally, if you've changed jobs a few times in your career, you may have old 401(k) outstanding in different places. Locating old 401(k)s can be a tricky process as it requires much coordination and hunting down various entities and contacts.
If you're unsure if you have outstanding 401(k)s with old companies, we can help. Beagle will find any old 401(k)s you have, identify any hidden fees, and provide options to consolidate into one, easy-to-manage account. Sign-up is free and only takes a couple of minutes.
Even misplacing one 401(k) from a previous employer could cost you thousands in potential retirement funds.
Contact Your 401(k)s Administrators
Your human resources department or administrator will be able to help you check your 401(k) balance.
You have most likely been mailed statements of your 401(k) accounts yearly or quarterly unless there is a different address on file.
Speak with your representative to verify that your contact information and address are up to date to prevent future lapses in correspondences.
If your 401(k) plan's administrator uses an online portal, similar to your online banking platform, they can help you get set up.
Online access to your 401(k) is excellent in checking your 401(k) balance and how your funds are performing. Some 401(k) platforms allow you to research the various funds, as well as reallocate your investments right on the platform.
Check Every Corner of Your 401(k)
Once you gain access to your account online or review your statement, check how your money is invested.
Most 401(k) administrators automatically invest your money into a target-date fund. Target date funds are portfolios of various mutual funds and investments tailored to your estimated retirement date. Using your age, the percentage mix of these investments changes to match your risk tolerance as you near retirement.
If you don't want to hold your money in a target-date fund, you have the option to change investments.
However, if your plan hasn't automatically allocated your money, it may be waiting to be invested. In this case, your money will be sitting in your account, not growing in a glorified savings account.
It’s a rare occurrence, but checking your 401(k) balance will help catch any funds not adequately invested.
By checking how much is in your 401(k), you can make sure you’re investing your money how you want.
Check On Your 401(k) Periodically
As mentioned, it's essential to check how much is in your 401(k) throughout the year. Ideally, more than once, however, annual checks are enough.
The reason to monitor your retirement savings is to keep up with your retirement goals. For instance, as you near retirement, you may want to move your money to safer investments like bonds. Or, if one area has over-performed others, you might decide to reallocate your money to limit your exposure to one category.
Typically these drastic swings in your portfolio won't happen that quickly. But by scheduling an annual check of your 401(k) balance, you'll get a good picture of your 401(k) portfolio.