As millennials look to boost their bank balance and graduate to the next life stage, whether that’s buying a house, getting married or having children, it is essential they are doing all they can to make the most of their finances. But with pay packets squeezed and the cost of living high, it is also key to protect your money – and this means more than finding a high yielding savings account.
According to Josh Cousens of Monimine, which helps reunite lost financial assets with their owners, there are currently £25 billion of lost assets in the UK.
“A common viewpoint is that unclaimed money won’t affect you until later in life,” says Cousens. But there are several things that you can do now to seal your financial accounts and prevent money from slipping through the cracks.
“Lost assets can materialise in an array of monetary accounts, including premium bonds, bank and building society accounts, stocks and shares, life insurance and pensions, rainy day savings, inheritances and savings and investment accounts.”
So what do millennials need to know about unclaimed money and how can they prevent their money slipping through the cracks?
Ensure you stay contactable
“The biggest issue surrounding lost assets is failing to notify your financial provider when you change address,” Cousens says. “If you don’t state your new address, your correspondence will still be sent to the previous residence, and you won’t be contactable. Any outstanding money that lies within that account will then be considered unclaimed.”
This can be particularly troublesome for students, Cousens believes. “From university, to home, back to university and then to a new city, and it can be very easy to forget to keep your accounts informed of your current address.
“However, making the effort to speak with your financial providers and declaring your new address will pay dividends in the long run, when you still have access to all your money.”
Keep up with pension providers
“Another way people unwittingly lose money is through pension pots,” Cousens tells us. “Statistics published by Equiniti revealed that the average person will have at least six jobs in their lifetime. When an individual starts a new job, it can be easy to forget to notify the pension provider of the new company.
“Many people even take out a new pension and completely forget about the old one. If the provider is unable to contact you and you have forgotten about them, it’s very simple for owed money to become trapped and left unclaimed.”
Cousens recommends keeping a record of each job’s pension provider, to help stay on track.
Keep in touch…wherever you are in the world
“Many millennials embark on gap years abroad, both pre and post university and some even decide to stay abroad for longer periods,” says Cousens. “Amid all the fun and excitement of exploring new continents, keeping in communication with your financial providers at home can be easy to forget. But this is a mistake. It opens the trap door for your accounts to be labelled as dormant, and for money to trickle into the ‘unclaimed’ pot.”
Don’t put off writing a will
Cousens advises millennials to write a will.
“Many people share the belief that writing a will doesn’t need to happen until later on in life,” he says. “Even among older age groups not having a will is common – 78% of adults aged between 30 and 39 haven’t written a will for instance. But without a will, it can be easy to lose track of your finances. By organising your estate at a younger age, your finances will be secure. You’ll be able to decide where your money goes and have the peace of mind of knowing your family will be economically protected.”