What is your simple ticket to finding unclaimed wealth? How can you find unclaimed money for yourself or the people that you’re close with? In this episode of Retirement Made Easy, I diverge from my normal podcast structure to share a tool that can be a game-changer for your retirement. Don’t miss it!
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…
- [3:17] Your ticket to finding unclaimed wealth
- [8:48] The story of an unclaimed pension
- [13:14] Finding old stock + 401k money
Your Ticket to Finding Unclaimed Wealth
A client’s Mom passed away years ago. She knew her Mom had a life insurance policy but she didn’t know how to find it. We dug as deep as we could and ended up finding out the name of the insurance policy carrier. Together, the client and I called and were able to locate the policy number and learn how to claim the death benefit.
But what about old life insurance policies where the death benefit never got claimed? What about dividends or paychecks? What happens to all of the unclaimed money? What if the children never knew about the policy—what happens to it? It ends up at the State Treasurer’s Office (wherever that person lived).
So what do you do? Go to unclaimed.org, the website associated with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. You can click on the state where you’re looking for unclaimed property. It brings you to that state’s treasurer’s website. You can type in last name, first name, and hit search and it brings you a list of unclaimed funds close to that person’s name.
Don’t be afraid to make a phone call
I have found hundreds of thousands of dollars for people, if not millions of dollars. It could be unclaimed life insurance or an unclaimed paycheck. Some people even had tax refunds that we found. I’ve uncovered old 401k plans that have compounded over the years. The average claim is around $300—but it can be far more. You simply have to fill out minimal paperwork to claim the money. Sometimes it makes sense to call that 800 number if you have any doubt. The worst thing they can tell you is that “We don’t see a balance for you.”
How we found an unclaimed pension
Eight years ago, I was working with a client (who’s still a current client) on the doorstep of retirement. We were doing some planning together when mentioned he worked with a company—that I’m familiar with—that has a pension plan. He didn’t have any paperwork showing that he was eligible for the pension. He’d never received any statements or notifications. However, I knew he had worked there long enough to be eligible.
So I did some digging. We called the 800 number and hopped on a conference call with the company. We found out that they had the wrong address on file for him. He hadn’t lived at that address for over 20 years. Every piece of mail they ever sent him was returned. We found he had almost $90,000 of a lump-sum pension. He was almost in tears that we had found money that he had written off. A simple phone call changed the entire trajectory of his retirement.
Finding a lost 401k—and something unexpected
Years ago, I had a client that worked with a publicly-traded company. She knew she had an old 401k with that company but didn’t believe there was much money in it. So we called them and found that it had changed hands 6+ times over the years. We found that she also had some company stock she was unaware of that had been accumulating over the years. It had grown to over $50,000. We were able to cash the stock out and pay zero capital gains taxes. The old 401k was rolled over to her current 401k. That $50,000 was the tipping point in her retirement plan.
Have any questions? Head on over to RetirementMadeEasy.com and send me a message!
Resources & People Mentioned
- Unclaimed: https://unclaimed.org/
Connect With Gregg Gonzalez
- Email at: Gregg@RetireSTL.com
- Podcast: https://RetirementMadeEasyPodcast.com
- Website: https://StLouisFinancialAdvisor.com
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