MY MONEY

Aussies have lost track of $1 billion - here's how to claim your share

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There's always a thrill in finding money you didn't know you had, whether it's under the sofa cushions or in the pockets of the pants you are about to wash.

But there are potentially bigger sums out there for you to find.

There is around $1.1 billion in lost shares, forgotten bank accounts, un-presented cheques, dividends, refunds, interest , investments,  trust account funds, life insurance policies and rental bonds in Australia.

how to find lost money super bank accounts shares

This money often becomes lost when you move house and forget to update your details with a financial institution or company.

Bank accounts become unclaimed after seven years if the account is inactive, meaning there are no deposits or withdrawals.

ASIC holds the money from bank, credit union and building society accounts that have not been used in seven years and contain a balance of $500 or more.

A life insurance policy also becomes unclaimed seven years after the policy matures and is not claimed.

To discover if you have lost money you can search through the ASIC MoneySmart site.

You can also visit the website for your state revenue office to locate lost money that may not appear on the MoneySmart website.

And search the Fair Work Ombudsman website to find out if you're owed unpaid wages.

Finding lost super

There is about $20 billion in lost and unclaimed super in Australia.

To look for lost super yourself, fo online to your myGov account through the ATO, or you can phone the ATO's lost super search line on 13 28 65. You will need to provide your personal  details including your Tax File Number and your current super fund details.

The ATO may hold lost super from accounts with balances of less than $6000 or that have been inactive for a period of five years.

Most super funds will have tools to help you search for your lost super.

First State Super's supermatch2 tool can be used by members to find lost super through the ATO.

A First State Super staff member, who was also a member of the fund, recently found $30,000 using this method.

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Julia Newbould is a financial writer and commentator with a background in journalism. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.
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