Here’s how you might find unclaimed money online – and three suggestions on what to do with the funds.
Where to Find Unclaimed Money Online?
There are two websites to see if you have unclaimed money available in your name. This could be money from banks, financial institutions, the IRS, even a utility company.
Basically, these organizations have been essentially holding the money in your name, and they need your help figuring out where to send it. Once you claim these funds, they’re transferred to you. It’s like finding free money!
You can go to a website called unclaimed.org, and there’s another one called missingmoney.com. Both allow you to search for money that’s being held in your name. You will need to type in the address where you live now and even the old addresses where you used to live.
For example, I live in New York state, so they took me to the New York state unclaimed money website. I typed in my name and address, then found $244.14 in unclaimed funds!
What Do You Do If You Have a Common Name or Multiple Old Addresses?
When you first search, they’re going to show everybody in the state with unclaimed money matching your name. If you have a pretty common name, try using your middle initial to help narrow it down. Also, be sure to check the results for all your old addresses.
Back in my college days, I moved once a year for five or six years in a row. This means I had a different mailing address every single year. The reason I mention this is because you may want to search variations of your old addresses such as trying the name of the town, city, village, and state where you previously lived.
How to Get the Money You Find in Your Name
If you’re lucky enough to find unclaimed money in your name, they will ask you to verify your identity. Usually, something like typing in your social security number or your current contact information.
Once they know it’s you, they send a check in the mail. Occasionally, they might have you type in all your contact information then print and submit a mailing form. It’s a bit more of a hassle, but that’s how they can make the claim official and send you your money.
Be careful of a few companies out there offering to claim the money on your behalf. I would stay clear of those services because some of these companies ask you to put money up front or they want to keep 10%-20% of the money claimed.
How Should You Use the Extra Money You Find?
I have three suggestions that can help anyone finding extra money:
- Check out a website called charitynavigator.org. Maybe you can put some of that unclaimed money to good use by helping people in need. Charity Navigator is the nation’s largest and most utilized evaluator of charities.
- Start an online savings account. These types of accounts give you a higher than average annual percentage yield (APY) that helps your money earn interest and keep up with the rate of inflation. My favorite right now is CIT Bank. It has a very competitive APY, and there’s no monthly fees when you setup monthly deposits.
- Open a Roth IRA and invest the money there. Some think of investing as too complicated. Well, I can tell you opening a Roth IRA is a game changer when it comes to investing in your future.
Roth IRAs are retirement investment accounts that you typically don’t touch for decades. You’re going to putting the money away until you’re at least age 59 ½, so this kind of long-term investing is a terrific way to build wealth over time through the power of compound interest.
If you are interested in me writing about how to allocate funds when you start your Roth IRA, then I’d be more than happy to go into detail on a future post.
Okay, let’s recap. Checking out a site like unclaimed.org or missingmoney.com is a great way to see if you have any free money sitting out there in your name. And, if not your name, maybe your family’s name.
By the way, let me know down in the comments if you found some money. If you don’t mind sharing how much, I think those wins would be inspiring for all of us.
When that unclaimed money comes your way, remember to consider something like donating to a charitable organization, starting a savings account, or opening a Roth IRA.
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As always, I’m Rich and until next time.
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