Vol.1, No.2

How to find money you didn't know you had

Need money? Maybe you have some that you don't know about. Here's a few tips for finding out if you do.

Found money adding up
Photo Credit: Arkadiusz Fajer
If you're a little financially embarrassed right now maybe you don't have to be. You could have money and you don't know it. The real hurdle is finding the money. If you ever had a bank account that you never officially closed you could have money sitting at the bank. Some people have had checking or savings accounts where they withdrew most of the money and never used the account again. The money has probably drawn some interest over the years but still may not be much. If you left only a couple of bucks in the account and never used it again - perhaps you moved - the money is likely still there. Check with your previous financial institutions to see if you have funds. Sometimes it only takes a phone call but more than likely you'll have to go to the actual establishment to verify who you are before the money will be released.

Have you ever belonged to a co-op? You may have and don't even know it. Some utility companies and even stores are a co-op. Many people move before receiving their annual check. Sometimes the company can barely meet its expenses and there is no check. But some companies that have made a profit in the course of a year will share the wealth by sending cooperative members a small check. And you could have more than one check awaiting you. For instance, if you originally gave your address as a post office box but you no longer use that box the checks may have been returned to the company office. You could have years worth of small checks that add up to quite a sum. Check with all area cooperatives that you've ever had an account with to find out if you have cash waiting. Usually you can call or go to their main office and show a picture ID to claim the money.

Anytime you move it's a good idea to file a new address card with the post office. People or companies who are required to notify you of existing funds can find you easier, making you glad you did.

There are other occasions where you might have money and not know it. If a family member has died and you were not present for the reading of the will you could have money or property that was left to you. If the attorney hasn't been able to contact you it will remain in estate until he does. If you've been out of touch with your family for some time it might be a good idea to call and check on everyone - you could be in for a pleasant surprise.

There are online services now that allow you to search for money owed to you by various establishments. There's usually no charge to search but if the search results turn up your name you are charged for the details of the money. Although the charge usually isn't really expensive it could prove to be more than or as much as the money you are owed.