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Todays Wall Street Journal has an article on the increasing theft from 401K plans. Last year the US Labor Dept reported 1269 cases of funds missing from 401K plans, a sharp increase.

Unlike pensions, 401Ks are not guaranteed by the govt. Missing funds is simply theft. The feds go after the bad guys, who sometimes make restitution, but your funds may be gone.

The most common situation is employer who fails to send funds deducted from your paycheck to the 401K account. Other danger signs include--

Late or irregular account statements

Inaccurate account balance figures

Contribution not deposited on time

Abrupt change in account balance not accounted for by changes in investment value

Contributions missing from account statements

Unauthorized investments on account statement

Other employees report difficulting getting benefits paid on time.

Unusual transactions such as loan to your employer

Frequent changes in investment manager

Employer with financial problems.

This can be a good reason to rollover a 401K to an IRA when you leave a company. This way you select your own custodian and are not subject to potential problems at a former employer.

The last discussion of missing 401K funds in Fooldom in my notes is message 17735 on the 401K board.

Heads up 401K investors.

The article lists the Employee Benefits Security Administration as the correct contact in the case of problems with a 401K plan. TMF rules do not allow phone numbers, but see next message.
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