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Millions of Americans switch jobs every year, and that can be a good thing for those who move up the ranks to positions of better pay and more responsibility. But there’s a potential downside to mobility: the forgotten 401(k).
The more frequently workers hop around, the greater the chance they will leave behind 401(k) accounts that might be neglected or even lost over time. From 2005 through 2014, more than 25 million employees have kept at least one retirement account with a previous employer, and millions of workers have left two or more, according to Social Security Administration.
It’s easy to lose track of 401(k) accounts if you don’t take them with you. As the years go by, companies might be restructured, sold, or go out of business. As a result, their 401(k) plans might get folded or merged. At the same time, employees might change their contact information and fail to update a past employer.
“I’ve seen it happen,” said Mike Piper, a CPA and the author of the blog Oblivious Investor. “People change jobs, they never rollover [their retirement accounts] and they don’t know where their money is.”

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