Are you low on cash or looking to get out of debt faster? Maybe you’ve considered getting a second job or selling your valuables to boost your finances.
Have you ever thought about looking for unclaimed money? There could be extra money hidden away with your name on it, you just have to know where to look. It may take the form of a few dollars from a refund check you never received, or even an old 401(k) worth thousands.
Knowing where to find unclaimed money can be tricky. But once you start digging, you could find a treasure trove of money to help improve your finances.
6 places to look for unclaimed money
1. State government offices
When your money goes unclaimed or undelivered, it most likely goes to one central spot — your state’s treasury. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administration, nearly $41.7 billion in unclaimed money is being held by US states and territories.
This is because many state laws require that organizations such as banks and businesses turn over money that can’t be given back to the owner. For example, if a bank closes down and a bank account holder doesn’t come forward to claim their money or property, it goes directly to the state.
To find this money, you’ll need to contact your state’s treasury or missing money office. This means contacting any state you may be associated with. If you grew up in Illinois, studied in New York, and currently live in Florida, you’ll want to check in all three.
Additionally, if you want to take the search for unclaimed funds a step further, check in with any states associated with deceased family members and businesses you worked with. Even the smallest amount of money is collected by the state on your behalf free of charge.
2. Your parents’ bank
Often times unclaimed money is held by the bank because an account went inactive, or “dormant.” The bank will either send your money to the state or hold on to it for you for a specific period of time.
If you had checking accounts set up on your behalf by your parents through school programs or child banking initiatives, you may be surprised to see that those accounts still exist. Giving banks a call only takes seconds but could lead the way to unclaimed money in potential accounts.
But you shouldn’t stop there! Your parents and family members may have also invested on your behalf in accounts such as a savings bond.
Treasury Direct reports that every year, 15,000 savings bonds are returned to the U.S. Department of the Treasury because it is undeliverable. That is a whole lot of money that could go to paying down your student loan debt!
3. Old employers
When you got your first job in high school or college, you may have been completely unaware of all the benefits you were signing up for.
These benefits may have included a pension or retirement plan opened on your behalf. Unclaimed funds from these accounts can be rolled over into a current retirement plan or an IRA. If you’re looking to find unclaimed money from past retirement plans, check out the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits or ERISA
Not sure if you have any pensions? The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a U.S. government agency, is a great place to start.
If you have a retirement account open, you’ll need to do a bit more work. Start by calling your old employer’s Human Resource Department and asking them to do some digging on your behalf.
Or, if your former employer is no longer in business, take your search to the IRS and ask for tax document 5500. This is filed on behalf of the majority of 401(k) accounts.
4. Deceased relatives or friends
You may access some unclaimed money because you’re the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
Many life insurance policies never get updated. A relative or family friend may have listed you years ago as their beneficiary, so money may be owed to you when they pass. In other cases, a person may not even know or have kept records of owning a policy.
Most unclaimed funds from life insurance policies go directly to the state. However, more recent deaths may still be held by the insurance provider. If you feel that you may be a beneficiary, try calling the lawyer or executor of the will to see if they can ask on your behalf.
Other insurance companies, such as MetLife, allow you to search an online database based on the policy holder’s information.
5. Past and current addresses
Like many recent graduates, you probably spent every year moving from your childhood home to the dorm room, to an apartment, to an overseas hostel, and beyond.
Having so many different addresses can make it difficult for you to get important money mail like class action suite winnings, tax refunds, and even paychecks.
Most checks and unclaimed funds will go straight to the state it came from (not necessarily the state you lived in at the time). However, the check may have also been returned to the sender. If you feel you are owed money, now is the time to reach out and ask for help.
If your past address includes a parent or family member’s house, you may also want to give them a ring. That pile of mail sitting on your childhood desk may be full of checks you ignored for the last few years. Now does opening the mail sound more exciting?
6. Online service sites
So far, you may have noticed that you have to do a lot of legwork to get that money back. But here’s a secret: many government and private organizations actually have websites where you can track down your money with just a few questions and clicks!
Here’s a short list of where you can start:
- State unclaimed funds offices: Unclaimed State Contact Map
- Life insurance policies: MIB Policy Locator
- Missing tax refund(s) from past year: IRS
In addition, there are paid services you can use to find money on your behalf. But with websites like these making it so easy to do, paying for someone to search your name is just not worth it unless you’re expecting a ton back.
Finding missing money you’re owed
Unclaimed money may be just waiting for you to find it.
So much money may be held by the state and federal government, potentially right under your nose. Take the time to search and inquire about it. You’ll find it’s so worth it for the potential payoff — no treasure map required.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.23% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 6.23%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|