Workers who have heavily invested their retirement money in their employer’s stock or have received matching contributions in company stock may face losses in a bankruptcy, according to Mr. Stein of the Pension Rights Center. Although employees usually have the option to diversify their investments and move away from their company’s stock, they often choose not to because their familiarity with the employer may make them overconfident in the stock.
To navigate through a company’s turmoil, Anna-Marie Tabor, a visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts School of Law, advises individuals to update their contact information with the retirement plan. Staying informed is crucial, and if someone leaves their 401(k) behind when changing jobs, it is essential to continue updating contact information and to proactively reach out in case of any prolonged lack of communication.
Where can I get help if I have concerns?
If you encounter difficulties obtaining information about your retirement plan or suspect improper deposits into your retirement account, you can reach out to the Employee Benefits Security Administration at askebsa.dol.gov or 1-866-444-3272. This is the step that the Labor Department recommended to former Bed Bath & Beyond employees.
Hiring legal assistance can be costly, particularly for smaller sums of money. However, organizations like the Pension Rights Center and the Pension Action Center might offer free legal advice or referrals to address concerns about accessing retirement plans.
Where can I find official information about my 401(k) plan?
If you don’t already possess a copy, request a summary plan description from your employer. This document provides details about your retirement plan, including vesting schedules and contact information, suggested Maria C. O’Brien, a professor at Boston University School of Law specializing in employee benefits and insurance law. You may also contact the Department of Labor, which might have copies of the document.
Furthermore, employees should read the prospectus or disclosure for any investment option they plan to use, advises Ms. Costa. However, even if individuals request these documents, they can be challenging to comprehend. Terms like “guaranteed” in an investment’s name may imply a lack of risk, but such guarantees often come with conditions that stipulate holding the investment for a specific period.