How To Check 401(k) Balance

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 10, 2023

Your 401(k) balance is often the main pathway for a comfortable retirement. Whether you’ve got $1 million in the account or $50 might not matter if you’re 20, but understanding contributions and projected growth is an important part of retirement planning at any age. Regularly monitoring your 401(k) balance can ensure you’re hitting contribution targets. You’ll also be able to adjust your investment strategy as you approach retirement. Find how to check your 401(k) balance, plus additional tips to maximize growth here.

Where Can I Find My 401(k)?

Are you wondering, “How do I check on my 401(k)?” Whether you’re searching for your current 401(k) or an old 401(k) plan, there are numerous ways to find 401(k) information. If you’re searching for a 401(k) plan with a past employer, the first step is usually to speak with the employer. For your current employer, you can speak to the human resources (HR) department. 

Alternatively, you can find 401(k) information on the Department of Labor’s website. The company’s annual Form 5500 will include contact information and information on the plan’s administrator during your employment. If you have old 401(k) plan statements, they will also have all the information you need. 

Once you’ve located the plan administrator and your account information, you can log onto your 401(k) provider’s site or call the plan administrator to request a balance update. Common ways to regularly access your 401k plan include:

Employer’s Retirement Plan Portal

A retirement plan portal makes it easy to check contribution amounts and monitor your 401(k) plan’s investment performance. If your employer offers a retirement plan portal, this is typically provided by the plan administrator or a financial institution. You will need login details to set up a new account. If you cannot access the account, speak with the plan administrator for help in the initial setup. 

Online Investment Platform

How to check your 401(k) balance online varies by plan provider. Some 401(k) plans are managed through online investment platforms, where participants can log in and access their account information, view investment options and monitor their balance. In this case, you can log in, create a customized investment plan and monitor contributions. 

Financial Institution’s Website

If your 401(k) account is offered through a financial institution, you may need to log in to the financial institution’s website to find your retirement plan. Many providers offer online access for participants to review their account details, transactions and performance. 

Mobile Apps

Some financial institutions and 401(k) plan administrators offer mobile apps, making it easier than ever to check your account. Explore mobile applications provided by your retirement plan administrator or financial institution. These allow you to conveniently access your 401(k) account on your smartphone or tablet. 

Contacting Your HR Department

If you are unable to locate your 401(k) account using the methods above, consider reaching out to your company’s HR department or benefits administrator for assistance in finding the necessary information. They will help you set up online or app access to monitor your account regularly. 

How Can I Monitor My 401(k) Balance?

If you’re planning for retirement and want to ensure your investments are performing well, monitoring retirement savings is important. This will also help ensure you meet employer-matched contributions and gain maximum benefits. Ways to monitor your 401(k) balance include:

Online Account Access

You can monitor your 401(k) balance through online account access provided by your retirement plan administrator.  You’ll be able to log in to a secure portal and view real-time information about your account balance, investment holdings, contribution history and performance.

Regular Statements

Generally, 401(k) plan administrators provide regular statements. Accessing these statements through the mail or online can help you monitor your account balance. These statements typically provide a summary of your contributions, investment performance and current balance. 

Personal Financial Management Tools

You can also use personal financial management tools, such as budgeting apps or software, to track your 401(k) balance alongside your other financial accounts. You will input 401(k)-specific information and give the app access to view your account. Then, you’ll be able to see account performance, current balance and other financial information. 

Financial Adviser 

Consider seeking guidance from a financial adviser who can help you monitor your 401(k) balance. A qualified adviser can provide insights on investment strategies, evaluate your portfolio and offer recommendations to optimize your retirement savings. 

Automated Notifications

Discover how to set up automated notifications from your 401(k) provider to receive alerts about changes in your account balance. The notifications can be sent via email or text, informing you about contributions, investment gains or losses and other important account updates. You can usually set minimums for limits so you’re not informed of every $1 change, but perhaps for each $25 or $100 change. 

Retirement Plan Participant Website

Some retirement plan providers offer a dedicated website that provides comprehensive account information, including your 401(k) balance, investment options, contribution details and tools to track your retirement savings progress, making it easier to monitor your account. 

Interactive Retirement Calculators

You can also explore using interactive retirement calculators provided by your 401(k) plan administrator or other financial websites. The calculators allow you to input your account balance, contribution rate, estimated annual interest and other relevant factors to estimate your future retirement savings and monitor the impact of different scenarios on your balance.

How To Check Your 401(k) Balance Online

The process of accessing and reviewing your 401(k) balance online is usually simple. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to log in to your account and explore the various features and tools available along with your retirement savings balance.

Step 1: Visit the Retirement Plan Provider’s Website

The first step is to confirm your retirement plan provider’s website. When you access the website, you’ll need to look for a login button and enter your login credentials. Double-check that the website is secure by noting that the URL includes https. The “s” indicates that the website has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate, an essential security feature. 

Never click an email link from your plan provider to log into the website (as the email may be fraudulent or designed for phishing). Instead, navigate directly to the provider’s site. 

Step 2: Enter Your Login Credentials

Next, follow the instructions on the page to enter your login credentials, which typically include your username and password. To protect your account, it’s important to keep your login information secure and protected with a secure password that includes a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special symbols. If you can, turn on a two-step notification to secure your account. 

Step 3: Navigate to the Account Overview or Balance Section

Once logged in, you may immediately see the website’s account overview or balance section.  If not, check whether there is an account overview button — usually in the upper left of the page — you can click. This is where you can find detailed information about your 401(k), including your current balance, contribution history, investment holdings and recent transactions.

Step 4: Explore Additional Features And Tools

Additional features and tools available on the website can include investment performance charts, asset allocation breakdowns, contribution rate adjustments, employer match contribution trackers and retirement planning calculators. These tools can provide valuable insights into your 401(k) balance and help you make informed decisions about long-term financial planning and investment strategy. 

Step 5: Set Up Alerts and Notifications

You can set up alerts and notifications to receive updates about your 401(k) balance via email or text message. You can configure different types of alerts, such as contribution confirmations, balance thresholds or important account announcements. You can also receive an alert whenever someone accesses your account as an added security feature. 

Step 6: Review Statements and Transaction History

Finally, you can access and review your account statements and transaction history on the website. These documents provide a comprehensive record of your contributions, investment activity and any changes to your 401(k) balance over time. Most financial institutions or retirement plan administrators have a section called “statements and documents” where you can review statements as well as any important notifications. 

What Are the Next Steps After Locating My 401(k)?

After successfully locating your 401(k) account, it’s important to take steps to ensure you make the most of your retirement savings. Below are the next steps to effectively manage and optimize your 401(k) account.

Review Your Account Details and Beneficiary Designations

Take the time to thoroughly review the details of your 401(k) account, including your personal information, contribution rate, investment selections and beneficiary designations. Ensure that the information is accurate and up to date. Use that information to calculate expected returns and retirement value and consider whether you need to reassess contributions and investments. 

Assess Your Investment Strategy

Next, regularly evaluate your investment strategy for your 401(k) account. Consider your risk tolerance, investment goals and time horizon. Determine whether your asset allocation aligns with your objectives and make necessary adjustments. If you’re unsure how to do this, check this article on investing in your 401(k) and find the best 401(k) investments this year. 

Maximize Contributions

Explore opportunities to maximize your contributions to your 401(k) account. Consider increasing your contribution rate to take advantage of potential employer-matching contributions or tax advantages your retirement plan offers. If you’re maximizing your 401(k), consider opening a Roth IRA for additional tax-free growth. 

Diversify Your Investments

For any investment strategy, diversification is essential. Diversify your investments in your 401(k) account. Review the available investment options and spread your contributions across different asset classes to reduce risk and potentially enhance returns.

Stay Informed About Plan Updates and Changes

Stay informed about any updates or changes to your 401(k) plan. Regularly review communications from your plan administrator, such as plan documents, summary plan descriptions and notices, to stay up to date with the rules and regulations governing your retirement account. Be sure to confirm your employer’s maximum 401(k) match each year to maximize those contributions. 

Seek Professional Financial Advice

If needed, consider consulting with a financial adviser specializing in retirement planning. A professional adviser can provide personalized guidance, help you set financial goals and create a comprehensive retirement strategy based on your unique circumstances. 

Tips on When to Check 401(k) Balance

You don’t need to check your 401(k) balance weekly, but regularly monitoring the account as part of a buy-and-hold investment strategy will ensure you hit contribution targets for retirement goals. You can check the balance each month as you make contritions, or you could add a reminder on your calendar for “checking my 401(k)” every few months or twice a year.

The main objectives of checking your 401(k) are to monitor the balance, contributions, diversification and risk profile for investments as you work toward retirement goals. With the tax advantages of a 401(k) and additional benefits like employer match, maximizing your 401(k) can be a powerful tool to build wealth and plan for a comfortable retirement.

Frequently Asked Questions


How often should I check my 401(k) balance?


That depends on your goals and interest in actively managing your 401(k). For many people, checking it twice a year is enough for a buy-and-hold investment strategy. But you may want to check your 401(k) more often closer to retirement.


When is a good time to check my 401(k) balance?


There’s no ideal time to check your 401(k) balance. With a long-term buy-and-hold strategy that’s invested in an indexed fund and balanced across asset classes relative to your risk tolerance, checking a couple of times a year is enough.


Are there fees associated with checking my 401(k) balance?


There are no fees associated with checking your 401(k) balance. It’s free to check your account balance. Total 401(k) fees can range between 0.5% and 2%.

Alison Plaut

About Alison Plaut

Alison Plaut is a personal finance writer with a sustainable MBA, passionate about helping people learn more about financial basics for wealth building and financial freedom. She has more than 17 years of writing experience, focused on real estate and mortgage, business, personal finance, and investing. Her work has been published in The Motley Fool, MoneyLion, and she is a regular contributor for Benzinga.