This Personal Finance Tip Saved Me $29,871.63


When I was working in the corporate world I would request a yearly statement from Social Security to be sure that their records agreed with mine-and it’s a good thing I kept those records.

I had left a job with the phone company to start working at Merrill Lynch. The phone company had a defined benefit pension plan but I was told that I wasn’t vested and therefore had nothing to claim. It didn’t seem right with me and so a couple of years ago I started communicating with their pension plan administrator and provided documentation of my time at the phone company through my social security statements.

Sure enough-I had $29,971.63 that was mine! I recently received the check and was able to roll it over into my self directed IRA. Here is the link to Social Security where you can request your work credits. Even if you are twenty something this may prove useful down the road 🙂

What got me to thinking about this windfall? I read a book by Ellen Hoffman a few years ago called “The Retirement Catch-Up Guide-54 Real-Life Lessons to Boost Your Future Resources Now! Pretty snappy title! Here’s my executive book review: Don’t Bother! However, in the spirit of my blogger buddy Free Money Finance, I will be doing a 54 part series.

I promise to edit judicially and will include pertinent tips for those who are 20 something and those who are 50 something! See we have already knocked out her Rule #1 Find Out How Much Your Social Security Retirement Benefit
Will Be.

Photo: karaart.com

Steve Mertz
1/54 Part Series-Whew!

6 Responses to “This Personal Finance Tip Saved Me $29,871.63”

  1. Andrew says:

    What a windfall. That is a good idea. Any extra money will help, especially money you were owed a long time ago. I wonder how many millions of dollars is out there unclaimed by unsuspecting tax payers?

  2. Steve Mertz says:

    Thanks Andrew-I hope it will give people some food for thought! PS. Before Ellen Hoffman blows my car up with me in it I should confess she did not post that first comment-I was foolin with folks 🙂

  3. Scott says:

    I’m curious. Are you saying that any pension plan has to allow you to roll out any payments you made into their plan? Do you have something online that confirms this? Very, very interesting if true. And I might have money available if that is the case.

  4. Steve Mertz says:

    Scott-In my situation my company had a defined benefit plan which allows one to accrue a dollar amount based on years of service. When I had left the company they miscalculated my time with the company and hence the discrepancy. If you have questions about your plan do contact their administrator or go this website
    https://www.pbgc.gov/MissingParticipant/missingParticipantSearch.jsp-it is the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and can tell you if you are due money from a previous employer-let me know!

  5. Kim says:

    Can I ask you how long you worked for the phone company? I worked for one for 3 years and didn’t get anything out of a pension. Is that too short of a time frame or do you think I would have something coming too?

  6. Steve Mertz says:

    Hi Kim-I had worked for US West, now Qwest for 6 six years so I was entitled to a partial payout of their defined benefit plan-3 years is probably not going to cut it but check with their pension plan administrator regardless. Of course, any 410k contributions that you made are vested imediately and are elgible for a rollover-Hope this helps 🙂

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