Smart Money: Search for lost IRAs begins at the IRS


DEAR BRUCE >> My issue is finding more than one Roth IRA accounts my husband and I have. I would like to know how I can find accounts we opened in the late '90s or even after. My husband is 63 years old (I am 54 years old) and was permanently disabled in 2001. His mental issues and a fire have destroyed our path to any records.

— M.P.

DEAR M.P. >> Write to the IRS and explain the circumstances, giving all the details that you know. Ask where you should you go from here. It may take a while, but I find no reason in the world why you can't locate the accounts.

If the IRS says it can't find your accounts, drop me another note and I'll take another stab at it. As to the mental issues and fire, you have my sympathy. I do wish you well.

DEAR BRUCE >> What do you consider a good allocation of stocks and bonds if you are five years from 59 1/2 and your primary source of income at that point will be your Roth IRA?

— D.H.

DEAR D.H. >> It would seem to me that you might want to contact two or three investment advisers from different firms. Sit down with each one and explain exactly what you have and where you want to be five or six years from now. If you don't get an answer that you feel is satisfactory, try another one.

It's not an easy job, but then, it doesn't require all that much effort, and this is your payday for the rest of your life. Devote as much time to the problem as it requires.

DEAR BRUCE >> A few years ago, my husband loaned a sizable amount of money to relatives. They signed a promissory note to pay the money back, but never did.

Is there any way of us getting our money? It was several thousands of dollars. We are both retired, and that was money that we had saved over several years.

— D.W.

DEAR D.W. >> The simple answer here is that you're out of luck! Is there any chance of them getting more money? If so, that's when you should spring into action. I sympathize with you — your husband was being a nice guy.

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