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Planning Retirement Online

 Hidden money                     

                                        August 2010  


A windfall from lost and hidden money

MoneyIf you’re in need of a few extra pennies, then some spare cash might be closer than you think. Evidently there is more than £500 million worth of unwanted change lying around in British homes ready for the taking and an almost equal amount lying in dormant bank accounts!

A British charity called MicroLoan, which provides support for women in sub-saharan Africa, has researched how much loose change is left around the home in the hope that some of us will donate this forgotten money to their charity.

According to MicroLoan’s research, most loose change is found in the bedroom, with more than £143 million left in bedside tables and stashed under mattresses. The kitchen is a close second with £108 million secreted away in various nooks and hidey holes.

We’re also likely to leave cash in our old clothes – 1 in 5 regularly find money in their pockets, with more than £250,000 said to be hiding in old socks.

Brits are literally sitting on a fortune – with £2 million found down the back of UK sofas in the last year alone.

MicroLoan has uncovered these figures because they say they were shocked to find that over 12 million Britons never donated anything to charity.

small changeThe MicroLoan Foundation has recently launched a new campaign, Pennies for Life, which they hope will encourage more people to donate to good causes. Their own charity was set up to give very small loans to women in some of the poorest countries in the world to start their own businesses and lift themselves out of poverty. The average loan is £67 and remarkably, 99% of the women who receive loans are successful enough to pay back the money in full. It is a very innovative method of helping women to transform their lives and giving them an opportunity to develop self-sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families.

If you are interested in helping MicroLoan, their website is The website for their new initiative Pennies for Life is:

small changeAnother way to find an unexpected windfall is to trace a dormant bank account. It is quite surprising how many of us opened accounts at various times of our lives and then seem to have forgotten completely about them! They may only hold small amounts, but of course everything helps and interest over the years may have added a considerable profit.

Recently the government has confirmed it will be looking at using the money left in dormant accounts for over 15 years where the owners haven’t been traced for charitable purposes, so you need to check things out quickly now.

This is surprisingly easy to do. Banks, Building Societies and National Savings have got together to form a single organization that can help you trace a lost account. More information is on


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