Where’s My Money?

Chances are, you aren’t sure where all your 401(k) funds are. A handy guide to claiming what’s rightfully yours.

Chances are, you forgot your 401(k) funds when you left your last gig, and the gig before that, and the one before that… Here’s how to claim what’s rightfully yours.

When even a year feels like a long time to stay at one job (let alone an apartment), it’s way too easy to leave money behind when you transition into a new role. That’s a shame, especially if your company matched your contributions. Chances are, you’ve been neglecting some serious cash. Tracking down old 401(k)s isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, but a little detective work can literally pay dividends:

Pick Up the Damn Phone

The field of retirement funds is pretty old-fashioned, so unfortunately, your first step is to actually get on the phone. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that you are a capable adult, and call your old employer. Even if your departure was awkward, you won’t need to speak with your old supervisor or coworkers, just the person in charge of benefits.

Ask the Right Questions

Now find out who your retirement plan’s “custodian” is. This is the financial firm handling your investments. Yes, you’ve got to call them, too, since the custodian is a separate entity. A customer service rep there should be able to confirm whether you have an account and how much money is in it, as well as explain your options for reclaiming the funds.

Do Some Digging Online

Can’t find an actual person to talk to? Your company probably had to file a Form 5500 for tax purposes so use a gratis online service like FreeERISA or BrightScope to dig up a current phone number and contact person. You can also search the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits, which is where companies list “missing” plan participants. (That’s you).

If Your Company Went Out of Business

Contact the federal Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) to see if your company made any arrangements or left behind instructions about handling former employees. If you suspect the 401(k) program was entirely dismantled, check the EBSA’s Abandoned Plan Search page for confirmation and who to call. If the company wasn’t able to reach you with the news (perhaps because your residence on file was out of date), your money may well be languishing in an unclaimed property fund at the state treasury—the one where you were employed and paid taxes—though it usually takes a few years before that happens. Poke around the website MissingMoney to get your mitts on any abandoned cash.

Now Decide What to Do

Leave your 401(k) where it is, cash out (if you do, you’ll face steep penalties), or roll over any rediscovered money into one account—either your current company’s 401(k) or an individual retirement account, known as an IRA. The most important step? Remember how annoyed you feel right now. Now vow to deal with your 401(k) without delay the next time you jump ship.


The global climate change strikes on Friday are said to have been the largest protest for climate change in history. An estimated four million people participated in 2,500 events across 163 countries on all seven continents. That included an estimated 300,000 Australians, but a total of zero were in Hyde Park in Sydney, despite a viral photo that claims otherwise.

Australian Youth Coal Coalition, a pro-coal Facebook page, posted a photo showing trash strewn across a park after what appears to have been a large event. "Look at the mess today's climate protesters left behind in beautiful Hyde Park," the photo was captioned. "So much plastic. So much landfill. So sad." The only problem is, the photo wasn't taken after a climate change protest. It wasn't even taken in Australia.

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via GOOD / YouTube

Last Friday, millions of people in 150 countries across the globe took to the streets to urge world leaders to enact dramatic solutions to combat climate change.

The Climate Strike was inspired, in part, by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden who has captured worldwide attention for her tireless work to hold lawmakers responsible for the climate crisis.

The strike gave people across the planet the opportunity to make their voices heard before the U.N. General Assembly Climate Summit in New York City on Monday.

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The Planet
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

As world leaders meet to discuss new ways to tackle climate change at the U.N. Climate Action Summit, they might miss one very big part of healing nature – nature. In a new short film, youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot, a writer for the Guardian, talked about how we need to use nature as a solution to climate change.

There's a huge push to curb emissions, but it's not the be all end all of handling climate change; we also need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. While we don't have technology to do that for us, there is another solution. "There is a magic machine that sucks carbon out of the air, costs very little, and builds itself. It's called a tree," Monboit says in the film. Researchers found that we could get rid of two-thirds of the carbon dioxide that we've emitted during the industrial era just by growing trees. That amounts to 205 billion tons of carbon. Right now, deforestation of tropical forests is responsible for 20% of current greenhouse emissions.

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The Planet
Climate Action Tracker

In 2016, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to combat climate change by taking action to curb the increase in global temperatures. The Paris Agreement requires countries to report on their emissions and what steps they're taking to implement those plans. Now that the countries are coming together again for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City, it's worth taking a look at what kind of progress they've made.

The Climate Action Trackerkeeps tabs on what each country is doing to limit warming, and if they're meeting their self-set goals. Countries are graded based on whether or not their actions would help limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.

According to a recent article from National Geographic, The Gambia, Morocco, and India are at the head of the class. "Even though carbon emissions in The Gambia, Morocco, and India are expected to rise, they'll fall short of exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius limit," the article reads. Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States, on the other hand, get a big fat F. "Projected emissions in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States are far greater than what it would take to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

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The Planet
Screenshot via (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

Greta Thunberg has been dubbed the "Joan of Arc of climate change" for good reason. The 16-year-old activist embodies the courage and conviction of the unlikely underdog heroine, as well as the seemingly innate ability to lead a movement.

Thunberg has dedicated her young life to waking up the world to the climate crisis we face and cutting the crap that gets in the way of fixing it. Her speeches are a unique blend of calm rationality and no-holds-barred bluntness. She speaks truth to power, dispassionately and unflinchingly, and it is glorious.

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The Planet