How to Find Out if You Have a 401(k) Plan

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF® | Reviewed by Editorial Team

Updated on December 27, 2022

If you have recently switched jobs and are now working for a new employer, one of the first questions that you may have is whether your new employer offers a 401(k) plan.

Your human resources department or HR officer can quickly and easily give you the answer (The initial job advertisement for your position may have also listed a 401(k) plan as one of the perks of working there).

If your employer does have a plan, your 401(k) enrollment paperwork was probably included in the initial packet of documents that you had to fill out when you first came on board.

401(k) Plan Administrator

If not, then all you have to do is contact your 401(k) plan administrator (again, your HR department can get you in touch with them) and they will tell you what you need to do to enroll.

You can also find out whether your employer offers a Roth option for your 401(k) plan so that you can start growing a pool of tax-free money for retirement.

Roth IRA

If your employer doesn't offer a 401(k) plan, then you should consider opening a Roth IRA.

This type of retirement savings account is funded with after-tax dollars and grows tax-free for life. The distributions at retirement from a Roth account are nontaxable.

You will also have a much wider selection of investment options to choose from and you can roll all of your old 401(k) plans into it as well (You will have to pay taxes on each rollover if your old 401(k) plans were traditional plans funded with pretax money).

Self-Employed 401(k) Plan

If you are self-employed, then you can open a self-employed 401(k) plan that allows you to make contributions as both the employee and the employer.

This arrangement allows you to make much larger contributions to your plan than you can make if you are only an employee.

401(k) Plan FAQs

What is a 401(k) plan?

A 401(k) plan is a retirement plan offered by an employer designed to help employees save for retirement.

How Do You Find out If You Have a 401(k) Plan?

Your human resources department or HR officer can quickly and easily give you the answer (the initial job advertisement for your position may have also listed a 401(k) plan as one of the perks of working there).

What is the difference between a Roth 401(k) and traditional 401(k)?

With a Roth 401(k), taxes are paid as money is put into the retirement account. With a traditional 401(k), taxes are paid as money is taken out.

Are there other retirement savings plans other than a 401(k) plan?

Alternatives to 401(k) plans include traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, pension plans (if your employer offers one), and 403(b) retirement plans for employees of non-profit organizations.

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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