Whether it is moving often, heading overseas or simply forgetting, Australians are losing track of their money and investments, with more than $600 million sitting in unclaimed bank accounts and another $450 million in shares, ready to be claimed.
It’s a staggering amount of wealth that could be checked easily with a quick search on the government’s Unclaimed Money website and it only takes a minute.
If curiosity gets the better of you, you start searching your friends, loved ones or even some famous people – you would be surprised who is losing track of their wealth.
Without mentioning names, it appears that one very well-known MP and his wife may have some lost money from 2002, ready to be claimed. It may only be $600 but it reinforces how easy it can be to lose track.
If you have completed a search and found some money, you should lodge a claim and note your Original Transaction Number which will be quoted in the search results. You will need your OTN to make a claim.
The claim process depends on the type of lost money.
The search results will tell you at which institution the money is currently held and you will need to approach the relevant financial institution. They are responsible for assessing the rightful owner of the funds.
If your claim is successful, the bank will notify the Australian Securities Investment Commission. ASIC will then release the funds to the bank so the bank can then pay you.
ASIC holds most of the unclaimed money from shares and other investments that people have not collected from companies. This is listed as ‘Company money’ in the search results.
A small amount of unclaimed money is held by the companies themselves. This is listed in as ‘Company gazette’.
Claiming shares is different to bank accounts as you will lodge your claim directly with ASIC. This type of unclaimed money is usually a result of takeovers and can include both cash and shares.
The bottom line is, everyone should be searching and taking control of their own money. It only takes a minute, so what are you waiting for?
For a full list of unclaimed money and shares across the country, click here.
Olivia Maragna is the co-founder of Aspire Retire Financial Services and is a respected and independent financial expert. Olivia’s advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions.