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Frozen 401k/IRA

Frozen 401k/IRA

Old Aug 17th 2017, 2:07 pm
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Default Frozen 401k/IRA

The accounts holding my pension funds in the USA have been frozen as I don't have a US address.

I had opened a traditional IRA with the company holding the 401k (Fidelity), and had transferred the funds to this IRA. I converted a small portion of these funds to a Roth IRA that I had opened at the same time as the traditional IRA.

Now Fidelity say that the accounts are frozen unless I make proof of a US address.
They will not even let me transfer between my own funds internal to them.

So to get any money from the funds it looks as though I would have to close the account. This would mean losing the benefit of the pension fund and also result in a unnecessary large tax bill.

Does anyone know of any other options open to me?

I am a UK citizen and resident.
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

Get a US mail box either from the UPS Store, or a US Post Office - both now allow you to use the "street address", though I would still lean towards using a UPS Store as they don't have unique Post-Office-only zip codes. Then use "Apt #", not the box number.

So the address you would use would be something like "234 College Blvd, Apt 1705, White Plains, NY 10595." So long as the location isn't around the corner from the investment manager's office, it is highly unlikely that anyone would notice that your apartment is about 4"×6"×12".

The fees for using the box will depend on how often you want the contents forwarded to you, as that is an add-on service.
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 3:26 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Get a US mail box either from the UPS Store, or a US Post Office - both now allow you to use the "street address", though I would still lean towards using a UPS Store as they don't have unique Post-Office-only zip codes. Then use "Apt #", not the box number.

So the address you would use would be something like "234 College Blvd, Apt 1705, White Plains, NY 10595." So long as the location isn't around the corner from the investment manager's office, it is highly unlikely that anyone would notice that your apartment is about 4"×6"×12".

The fees for using the box will depend on how often you want the contents forwarded to you, as that is an add-on service.
Incredible solution!!
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

Brilliant Pulaski........................can one do the same in the UK?
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 6:28 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Get a US mail box either from the UPS Store, or a US Post Office - both now allow you to use the "street address", though I would still lean towards using a UPS Store as they don't have unique Post-Office-only zip codes. Then use "Apt #", not the box number.

So the address you would use would be something like "234 College Blvd, Apt 1705, White Plains, NY 10595." So long as the location isn't around the corner from the investment manager's office, it is highly unlikely that anyone would notice that your apartment is about 4"×6"×12".

The fees for using the box will depend on how often you want the contents forwarded to you, as that is an add-on service.
When they ask for a utility bill for proof of address, what then?
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 7:26 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

We've had people rent an apartment for a few months, just for this purpose.
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 7:36 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

Originally Posted by MidAtlantic View Post
When they ask for a utility bill for proof of address, what then?
I have never been asked for proof of address when only changing address. .... In any case US institutions will take more or less anything received at an address as "proof", even a postcard sent to yourself, so it would be easy enough to solicit some sort of mail with your address on it - even some sort of request to a utility company, such as a request for information on services.
Originally Posted by branmin View Post
Brilliant Pulaski........................can one do the same in the UK?
That was where I first came across the technique - at a Mailboxes Etc, just around the corner from Buckingham Palace. .... "Ooooh, that's a swanky address" I thought. .... Then I discovered the truth.

Last edited by Pulaski; Aug 17th 2017 at 7:41 pm.
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 7:39 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

With E-Trade, I have previously had to send a copy of my drivers license. In order to get my drivers license I had to show proof of residency which included a utility bill. Admittedly Fidelity may have different rules, but they are sure to have a list of acceptable documents.

My ML 401K rollover application form just had to be notarized. My address information was confirmed through my bank statements. ML told me the requirements vary by employer on what information is needed, but I doubt this is true.

Last edited by mrken30; Aug 17th 2017 at 7:45 pm.
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 7:45 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
With E-Trade, I have previously had to send a copy of my drivers license. In order to get my drivers license I had to show proof of residency which included a utility bill. Admittedly Fidelity may have different rules, but they are sure to have a list of acceptable documents.
For a change of address?
.... My ML 401K rollover application ....
So that's a new account and not what the OP is asking about.

My original advice was specific to changes of address for existing accounts. It would be much harder to finagle an address for a new account, though not, I suspect, impossible.

You should be able to go on line and edit your address. I once had an account with a US bank that prohibited PO Box addresses, their online system simply wouldn't accept "PO Box" in the address field. .... It did however accept "P0 Box", which was the address they sent my mail to for several years!

Last edited by Pulaski; Aug 17th 2017 at 7:58 pm.
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 7:52 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

With ML ,I have not changed my address, this is just to carry out transactions on my account.

Change of address I have to submit by mail with E-Trade, again being notarized. This is because my former employer, operates in community property States , I am assuming.

I just looked to see if I could change my Fidelity account online. I have to go through my employer to change both legal/residential address and my mailing address.

Last edited by mrken30; Aug 17th 2017 at 8:27 pm.
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 9:27 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
With ML ,I have not changed my address, this is just to carry out transactions on my account.

Change of address I have to submit by mail with E-Trade, again being notarized. This is because my former employer, operates in community property States , I am assuming.

I just looked to see if I could change my Fidelity account online. I have to go through my employer to change both legal/residential address and my mailing address.
I never ceases to surprise me how difficult it is being MrKen.
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Old Aug 17th 2017, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
I never ceases to surprise me how difficult it is being MrKen.
I don't move very often. I only know about the 401k thing because I am in the process of rolling over into an IRA. It's not something I do very often fortunately. This is my second attempt at the rollover, my last form expired because I couldn't make up my mind to rollover into IRA or new employer's scheme.

This thread did prompt me to get it sorted out sooner rather than later.

Thanks OP
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Old Aug 18th 2017, 9:12 am
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

If you do need to use a mailbox service but don't want to put a PO box number in the address field, then write your last name on a sticky label and put that on the outside of the mailbox to make sure that your mail is put into the correct box
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Old Aug 18th 2017, 9:37 am
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

Fidelity have been closing accounts for non-US residents for at least a couple of years; it's surprising to hear yours still exists...
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Old Aug 18th 2017, 3:20 pm
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Default Re: Frozen 401k/IRA

Many thanks for all the replies.

Unfortunately, the useful idea of using a mailbox will not work in this case as Fidelity has already said that they would need proof of address such as a utility bill.

We've had people rent an apartment for a few months, just for this purpose.
Could you give me more information about how you went about renting an apartment, so as to give me an idea if it will be practicable in my situation.


Fidelity have been closing accounts for non-US residents for at least a couple of years; it's surprising to hear yours still exists...
What would happen if the account was closed? Would they send me a dollar cheque to the UK?
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