Impossible as it may seem, Americans misplaced $7.76 billion in 2015.1 How? By switching jobs or financial institutions and unwittingly leaving assets behind.
The majority of unclaimed money comes from brokerage, checking and savings accounts, along with annuities, 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts.
Companies are required by law to mail abandoned funds to the owner’s last known address. If they’re returned or the owner can’t be reached, the assets must be relinquished to the state.
The good news is that it’s relatively painless to locate lost funds. Online resources such as missingmoney.com and unclaimed.org allow you to search for assets in any states in which you’ve lived or worked. And if you do find money that’s owed to you, it’s often as easy as filling out a simple online form to get it back.
Darin Bostic and James Koller, two Orlando, Florida-based Schwab financial planners, point out that the best way to keep track of your funds is not to lose them in the first place. “Consolidating similar accounts, such as old and new 401(k)s, can help you keep track of your savings,” says Darin.
“What’s more, consolidation helps ensure your assets are working in harmony toward your long-term goals,” says James. “It’s difficult to follow a comprehensive investment strategy when your money is spread out all over the place.”
The bottom line: Consolidating your accounts can help ensure none of your hard-earned money goes missing.
1National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
What you can do next
- Creating and maintaining a financial plan can help you keep tabs on all your money. If you need help, visit a Schwab Financial Consultant at your local branch—or call us at 800-355-2162.