Recently, I’ve been working on an interesting project on National Savings and Premium Bonds. I think it’s a great way for people to invest money. Bond numbers can come up time and again, so once your numbers have been drawn, they don’t become obsolete, they go back into the draw again. They’re tax efficient too and if you have them and decide you no longer want them, you can always cash them back in.
It’s amazing how many people forget or don’t even know that they have Premium Bonds! I’ve come across numerous clients who didn’t realise they had any or just plain old forgot (mainly because they had been gifted to them as a child) and guess what? They’ve even discovered that they’ve won something – or they’ve found money they never knew they had.
As you well know, I hate people losing out on money. Very recently, I sorted out some financial paperwork for a client and discovered she had over £2,000 worth of unpresented cheques. They were out of date and so they couldn’t be cashed so unfortunately, that money quite literally disappeared. The cheques were shredded but even though that was quite upsetting, in the process, I discovered that some of those cheques were premium bond prizes. Next, I discovered that this client had £23,000 worth of NS&I certificates that she didn’t know about. So, while she lost some money, she found quite a lot, thankfully. It’s funny how the lost money story turned into some good news!
£61 Million of Unclaimed Bond Prizes
That prompted me to do some research and rather shockingly, I discovered through various different reports that there are £61 million worth of unclaimed premium bond prizes. Some of those prizes amount to £100,000 each – imagine that! There are people out there with no idea they’ve won £100,000! National Savings don’t have their current contact details so they can’t trace them and obviously, when you hop onto the NS&I website, you can’t see personal information but there are some rather precarious clues. For example, you might read that a woman in London has won £50,000 but the prize is unclaimed. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to find out if you have an unclaimed prize, just fill in your details and the website will do the rest. The thing with National Savings is that unclaimed prizes rarely make the news whereas unclaimed lottery wins often do! So, if you won something on the Premium Bonds 15 years ago and you haven’t claimed it – you still can. I urge you to check if you think you might have some Premium Bonds, you could enjoy a rather wonderful surprise!
Premium Bonds After Death
The beauty of Premium Bonds is that the prizes don’t expire. Unlike the National Lottery (which gives you 180 days to claim), Premium Bonds can be claimed at any time – even after death (there’s a 12-month window to claim). A client I’m booked to see tomorrow had a husband who sadly died of COVID-19. He had over £50,000 in Premium Bonds. All prizes are paid to the beneficiaries for up to 12 months after death. She may decide to keep them with NS&I to see if they generate a prize and as long as I have my eye on them, I know when she needs to cash them in – without missing the boat.
Once I get started with research, I can’t stop until I’ve explored everything, so I continued to dig deeper for other clients. I had two cases of grandsons being bought premium bonds over 30 years ago. Guess what? You’re right – they had no idea of their existence, and they were over the moon with the extra money found!
NS&I and IFAs
Next, I also found out that NS&I wanted to work with IFAs. I did plenty of research on IFAs and NS&I and amongst the IFA’s that I spoke to, hardly any even mentioned Premium Bonds or National Savings. In fact, there are hardly any IFAs who touch Premium Bonds sadly, and 99% of them totally ignore this aspect of a client’s assets. The way I see it is, if you’re advising on a client’s worldly wealth – surely NS&I counts?
So, I’ve opened up an agency with NS&I to try and track lost winnings and savings. When I add clients to this new agency service, I can check their NS&I, it’s so easy. Some people have £50,000 worth of savings that they simply don’t know about.
My Dedicated NS&I Web Page
Additionally, and for your convenience, I now have a dedicated web page for NS&I that you can access here. I am also writing a guide on Premium Bonds for you all, so you have it to hand, in case you want to clarify a point. I understand that in doing this, there’s no financial return for me but there could be for you! A satisfied client is enough of a return for me – the joy of them finding money they didn’t know they had!
I’d love to know if you found money you didn’t know you had! Let me know if I’ve prompted you to check.