5 Steps to Check your 401k Balance

Part of responsible retirement planning is close tracking of your 401k plans and IRAs. This includes a regular check of your 401k balance to ensure the investments are performing well and your nest egg is continuing to grow.

However, some employees are unsure how to check their 401k balance, leaving the account alone in hopes their employers are managing the funds effectively for them. We have tips to teach you how to check your 401k balance and use the information included to your fullest advantage.

Where to Begin

The best place to begin collecting pertinent information about your 401k is with your employer's benefits department. This is where your plan originated, and these are the employees responsible for ensuring you are well versed in all your benefits, including your retirement plan.

If possible, have the benefits person send you full information about the company managing your retirement plan, a website address and other contact information so you can get in touch with the company if other questions about your retirement plan arise.

Contact Options

Some can check their 401k balance through monthly statements sent in the mail, while others go online to the company's website to get the latest information about their retirement plan, including their retirement account balance. If you get all the contact information for your 401k provider from your benefits department, you will have a host of options to check your 401k balance using the most convenient method for you.

Establishing an Account

If you want to check your 401k balance and monitor your retirement plan online, you will need to set up an account through the company's website. This ensures that no one else will have access to your personal financial information.

Establishing an account is usually as easy as providing a username and password that you must enter every time you log onto the website. Make sure you record your username and password in a safe place once it is created to ensure easy access in the future. You may think you will remember that series of letters, numbers and symbols, but most people need a written reminder to keep track of the many online accounts they currently monitor.

What You can Learn

When you go on your account to check your 401k balance, you may find other important information about your retirement plan as well. For example, you may see your current rate of earnings, how much you earned over the last quarter and year, and a history of your deposits and distributions. You should be able to monitor your employer contributions as well as your own, and match those against your paystub.

A quick check of your 401k balance each month will help you accurately track your retirement plan and ensure your retirement account balance continues to grow.

It is important to check your 401k balance and monitor your retirement plan regularly. This account is your assurance that you will be able to maintain your quality of life long after your working days are over, and it deserves to have all the attention you can give it.
Tim Ord
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