Most people think they can account for every cent they have and would never consider that they might have money hidden somewhere. You might be amazed though at how many millions are sitting in unclaimed bank accounts and bonds in the US, and they are many other places some cash could be hiding.
Inheritances You Are Not Aware Of
If a relative dies without leaving a will, or you have moved address a few times since the will was written an cannot be traced, there could be an inheritance you can claim.
If you are named in a will but the deceased does not list all of his or her investments and bank accounts, money could be sitting there that no one is aware of. When someone dies, their financial planner or insurance agent might know more about these things, and you should speak with them to make sure the estate contains everything it should. Check through their paperwork for any mention of investments you did not know about.
If the relative died a few years ago, you can visit the website of the National Association Of Unclaimed property Administrators to uncover dormant bank accounts, stocks, safety deposit boxes and unclaimed funds from life insurance policies.
Forgotten Saving Bonds
Savings bonds are a popular gift to give new babies, but because they do not mature for a long time they can be put somewhere safe and then forgotten about. The Department of the Treasury estimates that there are billions of dollars worth of savings bonds that have stopped earning interest but have never been cashed in. They also report that they have more than 25,000 bond payments returned to them every year because they cannot be delivered.
If you want to find out if you have a long-forgotten bond visit the site of the Bureau of Public Debt’s Treasury Hunt. This database will check all mature savings bonds that have not been cashed since 1974 and they provide an online form for you to make a claim if you find some.
Legal Settlements Must Be Claimed
If you are injured because a product you purchased was defective you could be entitled to compensation. Often, in these cases, there are several people in the same position, but you will not be awarded anything unless you make a claim against those responsible.
This is not an easy task unless you have the training to deal with these matters. The best option is to use a respected personal injury attorney. Research has shown that those who use an attorney are far more likely to win their claim and to receive a higher amount of compensation. This is also something you should consider if you have been injured in an accident you were not to blame for.
Loose Change Everywhere
People tend to throw loose change down when they get home, or not bother to pick it up at all when it is put on a counter for them at their local store. It is said that for a family of four, if they all emptied their purses, pockets, and wallets of loose change and collected the bits that are sitting around the house, most families would have about $60 in loose change.
Go through your drawers, pockets of clothes in your closet, look in the car and any other nooks and crannies a few coins might be. To get them changed into bills take them to a bank. If there are too many for them to accept, drop them into a Coinstar machine at a local supermarket. These do charge a small fee unless you accept gift vouchers instead of cash and then often the fee is waved.
According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, most people will have had 10 jobs before they reach 50. If any of those jobs had a pension attached to them and you did not roll it over every time you changed your job, there could be pension funds sitting in a forgotten retirement plan.
Your first port of call should be the employer if they are still trading. If they have no record of it you can look for yourself on the website of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. This is a federal agency that insures most private pensions. It is also worth checking out the website of the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits.
Compare Savings To Borrowings
It really is good to have saved a lump of money during your working life, but do you still owe money on your mortgage or other borrowings? Banks and financial institutions make their profits by charging more on the money they lend out compared to what they pay investors and savers. For instance, in the current economic climate, you could be paying 5% interest on your mortgage and only be getting 1% interest on your savings.
That 4% difference is the bank’s profit, and you should have it in your pocket, not theirs. Pay off the mortgage and you will save money as well as the monthly repayment you have to make. You can then put this monthly amount back into your savings, as you will be no worse off but will have the peace of mind of being debt free and not giving the bank any more of your hard earned cash.
Tax Refunds You Could Be Entitled To
If you have overpaid an amount of tax, the IRS does not refund it unless you request them to. Check out your tax account online, there could be some money sitting there just waiting for you. This happens to many thousands of people every year, and it is estimated there are millions of dollars that could be repaid to taxpayers who do not know they have paid too much.
Most people just carry on through life’s financial challenges without giving much thought to the hidden places there could be money waiting for them. The few suggestions mentioned above are worth checking out, as you never know just how much you might find.