New Bill Would Create ‘Retirement Lost and Found’

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If you’ve ever wondered what happened to a 401(k) account from a few jobs ago, you may not have to wonder for much longer.

Earlier this month, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) introduced the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement Act, or RISE Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. And the bill has since passed the House Education and Labor Committee, which Scott chairs.

Among other potential improvements to the American retirement system, the RISE Act would create a centralized “lost and found” for retirement accounts. As Scott describes it:

“The RISE Act, which includes several proposals from Committee Members, makes meaningful improvements to our retirement system. These changes include creating an online ‘Retirement Lost and Found’ database at the Department of Labor to help workers locate their hard-earned retirement savings as they move from job to job. According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 25 million people who changed jobs between 2004 [and] 2014 left behind one or more retirement accounts.”

While it is already possible to find an old retirement account, the process isn’t simple and can require checking in several places. An official database maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor could make that process easier by pointing workers in the right direction.

The RISE Act is still a long way from becoming law, with the full House as well as the Senate yet to vote on it.

According to the National Association of Plan Advisors, a retirement industry advocacy group, the RISE Act will be folded into a proposal to expand an existing retirement law, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (Secure) Act of 2019, before the full House votes on it.

The proposal to expand the Secure Act, which is often referred to as the “Secure Act 2.0,” was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee in May, as we reported in “New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages.”

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