Millions in missing cash could be waiting for you

Barry Leddicoat

KEEPING your head above water financially is becoming more difficult by the day.

One way to ensure your financial health is as good as it can be, is to make sure the money you have isn't lost in some way.

This is where the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) comes in with its 'MoneySmart' website which now allows people to find money they didn't know they had or had misplaced without realising.

ASIC has a total of $2,896,477.35 in unclaimed funds, divided into 6951 portions, belonging to Tweed residents.

The largest single parcel is on behalf of a Tweed Heads' individual who has misplaced $53,437 and change.

There are 10 individual major stockpiles stashed at a variety of locations including an amount of $18,275.41 held on behalf of an individual located in Murwillumbah.

ASIC senior executive Robert Drake said the commission held a total of 1 million different parcels of money on behalf of Australians and sent out 2,500 letters each month to try and reunite citizens with their lost funds.

"The website attracts about 250,000 visitors each year and contains information which is on the public record and is available to all," Mr Drake said.

Some of the data on the MoneySmart website shows a group titled Tweed Shire Arts has $7, 877, 56 waiting to be claimed, South Tweed Heads Rugby League Football has three accounts totalling about $2,000 and the Tweed Byron Group 18 Assn has $14,340,90 sitting in an account.

Mr Drake said in certain circumstances losing money this way could be avoided by keeping detailed records and safeguarding the associated paperwork.

New treasurers of organisations and executors of deceased estates should make sure they were familiar with all accounts and amounts held.

People should also ensure they contacted all relevant parties and especially life insurance companies, banks and stock brokers, when moving.

The ASIC data base holds records of a total of $677 million of unclaimed money which is $40 million more than last year.

Last year, ASIC helped Australians recover $56 million however, 33,000 individual parcels were added to the list and are waiting for owners to collect the associated funds.

There were a number of circumstances which could lead to people misplacing funds including if you:

moved without leaving a forwarding address

haven't made a transaction on your cheque of savings account for over seven years

stopped making payments on a life insurance policy

have noticed that regular dividend or interest cheques have stopped coming

were the executor of a deceased estate

If you want to find out if you have any unclaimed funds stuck in an account somewhere, you can go to ASIC's website at moneysmart.com.au and follow some simple instructions to find your missing pot of gold.

You can even find money unclaimed by members of your family or friends and surprise them with an unexpected windfall.

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