You May Have Unclaimed Money Out There. I Did.
You can’t maximize your money if you don’t know where it is or what’s happening to it. And that’s why you should start focusing on funds you’ve forgotten or neglected.
If you’re looking at the screen sideways thinking, there’s no way I have money out there that I’ve forgotten or are that I’m neglecting, you might be right.
But then again, you could be wrong.
And if you’re wrong, it could be costing you.
True Stories of Unclaimed Money
I was going through a storage bin full of old papers and pictures and found a paycheck stub from a conference resort where I used to work.
Looking it over reminded me that I had a 401(k) account when I was there. But when I left the job, I left that money.
Knowing that retirement funds are highly regulated, I figured that money had to be somewhere. But when I tried to contact the company, I found out that resort has changed ownership and management companies several times.
My mission got pushed aside for a while, but eventually, I tracked down my money.
It was in TCF Bank, which I’d never heard of.
Hmmm, at least now I know where it is, I thought. It’s in a bank. It’s safe.
So, I pushed the whole thing aside again.
After a few months passed, I decided to look at what was going on with my account at this bank in the Midwest.
And I found that in the 10+ years that my money was sitting around, the account hadn’t grown.
In fact, the balance was declining.
While I neglecting my money, TCF Bank was siphoning off fees that were far more than the measly interest I earned. So, I was paying to be their customer and getting nothing in return.
And really I don’t consider myself a customer because the bank wasn’t providing me any service. I was just an account holder.
On top of the fees throughout the years, TCF Bank charged me more money to close the account–those bastards!
But now I’m in the process of moving that money to an investment firm where I have active accounts. That way, I can monitor and manage those funds better. And hopefully see them start to grow.
And that isn’t the only money I’ve forgotten.
I also found two H&R Block Emerald cards in an old wallet. I got those cards to access my tax refunds back in the day. But otherwise, I didn’t use those accounts.
When I called to check the balance, sure enough, one of them had some money left on it.
That remaining tax refund was less money than I had in that retirement account, but it was my money and it wasn’t being handled wisely.
I don’t think the money on that debit card was getting stripped down by fees, although it could have been. But it certainly wasn’t benefiting me by just sitting there.
I could have used it to cover the cost of something for my business. Or I could have had it in an account gaining interest or growing in the stock market.
Finding Forgotten & Neglected Funds
Before you dismiss the idea that you may have money just sitting around, realize it’s more common than you think.
There are all sorts of money out there people have either forgotten or aren’t paying attention to:
- Proceeds from estates
- Unfiled tax returns
- Old bank accounts
- Unclaimed security deposits
- Deposits for utilities
And the list goes on.
If you know you have money you’re neglecting, it’s time to reign in those funds and find ways to put that money to better use.
If you aren’t sure, there are resources to help you figure it out.
Check your state’s property office for tools that help you search for unclaimed property.
And USA.gov has this unclaimed money page with resources to help you find money from things like FHA insurance, credit unions, SEC claims and foreign governments.
What you find could change your circumstances in small or major ways.