Remember when newspaper's published pages-long listings of people and businesses who had unclaimed money or property?
It ran with headlines like:
“Found money - check for your name on this list!
Think of it as an early form of crowd sourcing.
Before moving it to the Magic Petty Cash Jar in the Sky, the government or entity involved must make an effort to get your secret stash back to you.
Challenge one: find the right person.
But you don’t read the list.
You’re too busy!
Maybe you think it’s a waste of time... that’s okay.
Someone you know will read every line, see your name, and text you.
Of course, these days even the government has the added challenge of proving they’re not a Nigerian Prince.
Challenge two: convince them you're who and what you say you are.
Last year, an avid reader of such lists told me she and her husband got an actual phone call – a sure sign that a scam’s afoot - from real live person – another warning sign.
This caller tried to convince them tens of thousands of their own dollars were sitting securely in a retirement account they’d forgotten about.
After many calls of “Bullsh*it!”, legitimacy was established.
It's for real!!
Now they're happy dancing and telling their friends!
20 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it possible to forget such a thing.
And if you still don’t, lucky you.
When you’re young-ish, you don’t have things like retirement accounts, overpaid taxes and credit card company class-action suit pay outs to forget about.
When you’re young(er), people further up the line from you are getting Aunt Tootie’s estate leftovers.
Don't we think these lists are a waste of bureaucratic ink in direct proportion to the likelihood our name will be on one?
Challenge three: get people to realize, "This may not have been relevant to me before, but now I stand to benefit from paying attention!"
Then something mad and unexpected happened.
The Internet came along, making you writer, editor and publisher of your own "free money list", which now works in reverse.
You put your stuff out there and attract someone who wants to give you money for it.
Do it right and you're one of the people happy dancing and telling your friends.