How much is $50,000,000.00? My office wondered the same thing, so we did a little research. With $50 million, you could buy 2,173 brand new Ford F150's, which start at around $23,000 each. At about $3 each, you could buy more than 16,000,000 Runza Sandwiches. You could pay 1 year's tuition, including room and board, to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for 3,224 students. At $55 per seat, you could buy 909,090 Husker football tickets, which would be enough to fill Memorial Stadium almost 11 times.
For the Nebraska State Treasurer's Office, $50,000,000.00 looks like the 68,109 claims of Unclaimed Property we have returned to Nebraskans since I took office 4 years ago; more than has been returned over the past ten years combined. The largest of these claims was over $660,000! In fact, there were 27 claims over $100,000, 88 claims over $50,000, 216 claims over $25,000 and 654 claims over $10,000. The average amount of these 68,109 claims was $734. The $50 million milestone was reached in late November, and it was a moment of pride and reflection for everyone involved. I could not be more proud of the staff in our Unclaimed Property Division. They share my passion for returning to Nebraskans what is rightfully theirs, and they continue to work tirelessly to reach out to the nearly 250,000 (1 in every 8) Nebraskans who still have Unclaimed Property being held by our office.
Unclaimed Property takes many forms. It could be lost or forgotten cash in checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, never-redeemed gift certificates, abandoned life insurance policies, unpaid wages, stocks or bonds, or the contents of old safe deposit boxes. We have given back over 85% of the money that has been taken in by our office throughout my term. These means that $50 million has been funneled into Nebraska's economy during the recent recession. This is money that has belonged to its rightful owners all along. I have always felt that it is my duty to return these funds to their rightful owners, as this money does not belong to the State of Nebraska.
Unclaimed Property exists on the national level, as well. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA,) there is still over $30 billion that sits stagnant around the US today. I encourage you to visit treasurer.org, as there may be Unclaimed Property just sitting and waiting to be claimed by you. I would suggest searching for your name, and the names of any relatives, living or deceased. Endorsed by NAUPA, Missingmoney.org is a national website which proves state-by-state breakdowns of available Unclaimed Property. I would also encourage searching for your name in any state which you have lived or owned property.
When I campaigned for the office of State Treasurer, I promised that I would remain dedicated to transparency and accountability as an elected official. By returning $50,000,000.00 to its rightful owners, I hope I have shown Nebraskans just what I meant by those promises.