The average person changes jobs every 4 years.
If you’ve had multiple jobs throughout your life, there’s a good chance you’ve had multiple opportunities to open a 401(k) account with each of the companies you’ve worked with.
Clearly, this isn’t the most efficient way of doing things, but employers don’t really care about that. It’s your job to make sure all your accounts are in order.
Still, it’s easy to lose a 401k account, whether it was because you were too busy or because you simply forgot that one account by mistake. We’re talking to the tune of $3.1 trillion collectively as Americans.
Clearly, not everyone knows that you should be rolling over your 401k whenever you find a new job.
However, with Beagle, that no longer becomes that big of a deal, believe it or not. Let’s take a deep look into what exactly it is that Beagle does, and whether or not it’s worth it for you.
- What is Meet Beagle?
- Does Meet Beagle have an app?
- How long does it take for Beagle to find any missing 401(k) accounts?
- Is Beagle free?
- How much does Beagle cost?
- Are there any additional fees?
- Does your 401(k) follow you around when you move jobs?
- What happens to old 401(k) accounts?
- How do I find an old 401(k) account for free?
- Are there a lot of lost 401k accounts?
- Can I cash out my 401(k) account once it’s found?
- Is Beagle legit/safe to use?
- What do users think about Beagle?
- Is Beagle worth it?
- In conclusion
What is Meet Beagle?
Meet Beagle, also simply known as Beagle, is a company founded in 2020 that helps customers locate their old 401(k)s. This problem is much more prevalent than one might expect.
In addition to simply losing track of your 401(k), depending on how much money is in the account, a number of things can happen that are out of your control. Generally, the noteworthy events you should worry about are the following:
- Fees may have been building up during the relevant period without any reminders to you
- The money may have been distributed to you at some point without you knowing or remembering
- The money may have been transferred to the state at which the money was located
What Beagle helps with is to simplify the process for you so that you don’t have to go through the entire process of trying to figure out who has what and what’s been done to the account.
They’ll find all the accounts under your name and will even point out any hidden fees that have been or are accruing on your account.
Recover your lost 401ks and more!
Does Beagle have an app?
At this time, the Beagle user interface is via their direct website. There are no Apple or Google Play Store apps available for download.
How long does it take for Beagle to find any missing 401(k) accounts?
Beagle can take 2-4 days to get back to you, but when they get back to you, they’ll have all of your accounts displayed in an orderly manner for your perusal.
Some users have had luck requesting manual expediting, so it doesn’t hurt to be nice and request one if you’re anxious to get your accounts back.
Is Beagle free?
Unfortunately, Beagle is not a free service.
How much does Beagle cost?
To find your old 401(k) accounts, Beagle simply charges a starter fee of $25. They also have a standard tier for $45 and a premium tier for a recurring charge of $45 every three months.
See below for the features of each of the three tiers Beagle offers:
Starter Plan ($25 one-time charge)
In this plan, you can see 1 account that they find in the initial automated search. They then do a more comprehensive search manually to find more accounts if you have any. On average, they are able to find 2.4 additional accounts on top of the initial 1.
Standard Plan ($45 one-time charge)
In this plan, you’ll get everything that’s included in the Starter Plan, plus you’ll be able to access money based on how much you have in the 401(k) accounts that they’ve found. They’ll walk you through your options on how you can do this without any taxes or IRS penalties.
Additionally, they’ll be able to help you rollover and consolidate your 401(k)s if you choose to.
Premium Plan ($45 charge every 3 months)
For this plan, you get everything in the Starter and Standard Plans, plus you’ll get a financial coach to help you go through your financial situation. They’ll also review your 401(k) holdings to make sure that the setup looks good, and continue to monitor them for you. They’ll continue to look out for additional databases in case there are any other unclaimed assets that belong to you.
Are there any additional fees?
There are a few additional but optional fees, as Beagle offers other services as well, such as opening a whole new retirement account with them. As stated above, you can find all your 401(k)s and let Beagle roll all the money over to a newly set up 401(k) account managed by Beagle.
Keep in mind that even if all your old 401(k) accounts have been found, if they have been rolled over to an account managed by Beagle, you’ll be charged a very reasonable $3.99 per month as long as that managed account stays open.
If you need to locate a pension plan, the cost is $79.
If you need to locate an annuity, the cost is $99.
Beagle also offers a premium service for $399, which includes a dedicated account manager and expedited processing.
Does your 401(k) follow you around when you move jobs?
Unfortunately, your 401(k) does not follow you when you move jobs. It’s your responsibility to contact your former human resources department or 401(k) plan administrator to get them to roll over the money from a previous account to a new one of your choosing.
Because of this, you may have forgotten some of your 401(k) accounts from when you were younger.
Recover your lost 401ks and more!
What happens to old 401(k) accounts?
What happens to your old 401(k) account generally depends on how much money you’ve had in it.
Any account with more than a $5,000 balance will remain in the account. Any fees that you’ve been paying on the account will continue to be paid from the account.
Accounts holding between $1,000 and $5,000 will get rolled over into a safe harbor IRA. You won’t be paying the 401(k) fees anymore, but the new IRA will likely have its own new set of fees.
Any account with less than $1,000 will get a check in the mail for the amount, so always be careful not to throw away any mail without first checking.
How do I find an old 401(k) account for free?
The usual way to locate it is to contact each and every one of your previous places of work to see if they can help you find it.
This can be very time-consuming and frustrating. It’s even worse if the previous company you worked for has gone out of business for any reason.
In that situation, there is a bit of detective work that needs to be done, such as checking old paperwork, searching a national registry, and contacting the Social Security Administration, among other things.
Are there a lot of lost 401k accounts?
Yes, there are a significant number of lost 401(k) accounts in the United States. A lost 401(k) account refers to a retirement savings account that a person has forgotten about or left behind after leaving a job.
This can happen if a person forgets to transfer their 401(k) account when switching jobs or if they simply lose track of the account over time.
According to a report by the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits, there are currently over 38,000 lost 401(k) accounts with a total value of $1 billion in the United States.
This is just a fraction of the total number of unclaimed retirement accounts, which also includes other types of accounts such as pensions and individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
It’s important for individuals to keep track of their retirement savings accounts and to make sure they are aware of any accounts they may have lost or forgotten about.
This can be done by regularly reviewing account statements and by contacting previous employers to inquire about any retirement accounts that may have been left behind.
There are also online tools and services available that can help individuals locate and manage their retirement accounts.
Recover your lost 401ks and more!
Can I cash out my 401(k) account once it’s found?
You absolutely can, but in the majority of cases, you absolutely should not.
If you cash out your 401(k) before 59.5 years of age, you’ll not only be taxed on the income (remember, you never paid taxes on the money prior to investing it), you’ll also pay an early withdrawal penalty of 10 percent to the IRS.
That can come out to a huge chunk of change and is almost never worth it.
Extreme cases where you might or should withdraw from your 401(k) before 59.5 years of age are rare, but they do exist.
For example, if you have a financial hardship, medical emergencies, or become permanently disabled, cashing out may be considered prudent.
Is Beagle legit/safe to use?
Beagle will only ask customers for information that they need in order to track down old 401(k)s.
Inherently, it is sensitive information, but it will be handled professionally, as they do adhere to the highest standard of safety protocol as expected of any company that deals with financial matters. Your information will be encrypted and stored safely.
What do users think about Beagle?
On Trustpilot, Beagle has an impressive 5 star rating with over 800 reviewers. These ratings indicate that users have an excellent experience with using Beagle in general. Most of the upsides mentioned are the customer service and professionalism with which the company handles cases.
As far as downsides, there aren’t many according to Trustpilot reviews, but for the ones that gave lower star reviews, it usually involves problems with what the customer expects and what they actually get. For example, some feel that they don’t get their money’s worth when they find out how many accounts have been found.
For some customers, Beagle finds accounts they already know about and no additional accounts. Keep in mind that Beagle claims to find 3.4 accounts on average per customer, so if you were expecting 7 or 10 accounts, you might be disappointed if they only find 3 or 4 for you.
Is Beagle worth it?
In most cases, if you even think you might have an old 401(k) floating out there, Beagle is a relatively quick and affordable way to find out just to make sure. You can always pay your $3.99 and bounce.
Even if you continue to pay for the service because you’ve rolled over all of your previous 401(k) money to a new account managed by Beagle, it’s still a pretty good price especially if you’ve got over $100k saved up for retirement.
Generally, the more money being managed, the better deal you’re getting since Beagle charges a fixed rate. Lots of other institutions like to charge a percentage, can get very costly if you’re entrusting a high sum of money to them.
Recover your lost 401ks and more!
Beagle makes life a lot easier for users who’ve worked multiple jobs and have opened multiple 401(k)s in the past.
In fact, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if people who know they’re supposed to roll over 401(k)s at a new job end up not doing so at all, knowing that in 20 or 30 years, they can just sign up for Beagle and have them roll it over all into one new account managed by Beagle.
I know I probably would.