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7 Ways to Find Hidden Cash

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Photo: zen

Whether you’re rolling in dough or trying to make ends meet, maximizing your assets is always a good idea. Obviously, you could increase the cash in your pocket by making more and spending less. But if you’re like most people, chances are pretty good that you’re sitting on some cash that you don’t know about.

Here are seven ways to find hidden cash.

1- Unclaimed tax refunds

The funds from your income tax refund: It’s your money, but surprisingly, the IRS ends up with tens of millions of dollars every year that go unclaimed. Typically, people miss their refunds because they move without leaving a forwarding address. Marriage and death can also lead to discrepancies on your return that delay your tax refund.

The good news is that the IRS does make an effort to find you and give you your money. But, as is to be expected, they can’t be as efficient or as effective as we would like, so the thing to do is file form 8822, which will update your contact information at the IRS. Simply put, filing this form is one of our 7 ways to find hidden cash — wasn’t that easy?

2- Unclaimed property

You’d think that it would be easy to keep track of your property, but for a lot of folks, small amounts can go missing all the time — and small amounts can add up. Perhaps your final payroll check at that summer job never got to you; maybe you forgot about that checking or savings account you opened when you were a kid; maybe you lost track of those stock shares when you started making real money and using a financial adviser; or maybe a distant relative died and you never found out about it. In all of those cases, the party responsible for getting you the money probably gave up looking long ago. However, the law says that they have to turn it over to the state, which holds it for you in the meantime.

Unfortunately, nobody is looking for you to tell you that you have cash in the bank. So, you’ll need to look for yourself. But you don’t have to pay to search. Go to MissingMoney.com and start looking. It’s free.

Painless and free — now that’s the way we like to find hidden cash.

3- Union benefits

If you worked a union job (even if you aren’t working there now), you may still have some benefits coming to you. Typically, you vest after five years of work, although that’s not a hard and fast rule, and each union is different. Check with the union to see if you qualify. Those benefits can range from pensions to health and life insurance.

One of our 7 ways to find hidden money may require you to go back to college, so to speak…

4- Utility deposits

Most young people make a mistake when they move (and they compound the mistake by moving several times during their college and post-college years): They skip town without settling their financial affairs. Many people close their utility and phone accounts without leaving a forwarding address. If they paid a deposit, the money could still be there. Likewise, their final payment may have included a slight overpayment because some utilities estimate charges until they can read the meter. In the aggregate, these funds can add up, so it pays to go looking for them.

5- Expired savings bonds

Savings bonds are safe, federally insured investments. If you’re looking to protect your money and grow it conservatively, you can’t go wrong with bonds. For that reason, many guys received bonds as presents when they were younger. The good news is that these bonds will make a little money down the road; the bad news is that they’ll most likely be forgotten about when the bond holder starts earning more money. Once a bond matures, it stops earning interest. Cash it in.

6- Life insurance policies

According to industry experts, nearly a quarter of all life insurance policies go unclaimed. It’s a staggering figure, until you consider the fact that few guys tell anyone that they have a life insurance policy. Obviously, the thing to do is to tell people that you have a policy and note it in your will. If you’re dealing with a family member’s estate, you can make your search easier by checking their bank statements for payments to an insurance company.

7- Frequent flyer miles

Although frequent flyer miles aren’t cash, they can be just as good. Most airlines allow you to transfer miles to family members when you die. So, if you’re settling a loved one’s estate, it pays to check with the major airlines.

It’s tempting to think of this cash as “found” money, but it’s not like $20 you found on the street — it’s your cash. While you can pay someone to help you locate the money, you don’t have to. And since the money invariably makes its way to the government, searches are free as a matter of public record, so paying for information is just a good way to lose more cash.

Rely on sites that allow you to search for free and remember that when you find something, you can always contact the state directly to get your cash without the aid of an expensive middleman.

This article “7 Ways to Find Hidden Cash” was provided by AskMen.com.