If you’re struggling with a tight budget, here’s a fun fact to consider: Various government agencies and organizations are holding more than $58 billion in unclaimed money, according to CNN Money, and a piece of that pie could be yours.
This isn’t some nefarious plot to keep you from your money. Often, we are the ones who forget about that 401(k) plan where we saved some money during a job decades ago or that old bank account where we socked away cash from our teenage babysitting job. And don’t discount how much you might be owed. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators says one out of every eight Americans is due money and the average payout is about $1,000.
Find Your Potential Unclaimed Money
So how do you find your unclaimed money? Here’s where to look:
and 401(k) Plans
You might have been thrilled to make a clean
break from a past job, but, when you walked away, you may have left some of
your own money behind in the form of a pension or 401(k) retirement plan. In
some cases, employees simply forgot about the money. In the case of some
pension plans, the employer may have abandoned the plan because of a
bankruptcy, for example. Aon Hewitt, a human resources consulting firm,
estimates that as many as 30 percent of pension accounts
are simply lost, according to the Wall Street Journal.
To find out if you have retirement plans that
owe you money, you can ask your former employers and check these sites:
- Pension Benefit
- Employee Benefits Security Administration
Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits
Maybe Great Aunt Bitty gave you a savings bond for your 16th birthday that you promptly lost. You can still get your unclaimed money. Fill out the U.S. Department of Treasury’s form for lost, stolen or destroyed United States Savings Bonds to claim it.
and Credit Union Funds
Do you have a long-lost bank account from
years ago? Or maybe a credit union where you once squirreled away your funds
shut down. It’s time to claim your missing money.
Most people are waiting by their mailbox to
scoop up their tax refund, but there are more than $1.4 billion in unclaimed federal income tax
refunds out there because people simply didn’t claim
them, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
If you didn’t file a tax return, the law gives
most taxpayers a three-year window to seek that refund. And there’s no need to
worry about a penalty. If the government owes you money, you won’t face a late
filing penalty. But it is critical to get the paperwork filled out as soon as
you can. If you fail to file during those three years, the money becomes the
property of the federal government. There’s more information on the IRS’s website.
When a business has money to give to you, but
can’t track you down, it often sends it to the state where it operates for
safekeeping. The money might be from a security deposit that was never returned
to you or funds from a check that you never cashed. Each state has a website
that lists unclaimed funds and property. The National
Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators has
links to each of them.
Could there be unclaimed money out there to solve all your financial concerns? Probably not. But it’s worth checking out these websites now to see if you do have missing money.
The CESI Team is committed to helping you reach your financial goals. If debt keeps you from living the life you dream of, contact us for a free debt analysis today and get started on the road to a brighter future!