Personal Finance: State wants to connect unclaimed goods with their rightful …
News from Sacramento Bee:

It’s a cross between Grandma’s attic and Fort Knox.

In a tiny, unmarked room inside the state’s unclaimed property office in Rancho Cordova, there’s a veritable treasure trove just waiting for the right people to claim it.

Set up like a department store jewelry counter, the 200-square-foot room is rimmed with glass cases displaying an eye-popping, yet oddball, collection of unclaimed goods.

There’s everything from a well-aged bottle of cognac to Hank Aaron baseball cards, from glittering diamonds and jade jewelry to American Indian beaded belts, from a $ 100,000 stack of gold ingots to a single sardine can.

All of it belongs to Californians who either died or simply forgot about a long-ago safe deposit box.

And collectively, it represents just a fraction of the $ 6.1 billion in money and property that California is holding until the rightful owners come forward.

Standing amid the abandoned riches one recent weekday, state Controller John Chiang said his mission is simple: to get rid of it. “Our first objective … is to reunite people with their property,” he said.

Over the past six years, Chiang’s office has ramped up its efforts to do so. In fiscal year 2011, it sent more than 1 million notices to Californians that their property was about to be sent to the state. In that same period, it took in $ 557 milli…………… continues on Sacramento Bee

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Dave Gardner: Personal finance’s best and worst of 2012
News from The Daily Camera:

Here’s my shortlist for the best and worst in personal finance for 2012.

First the best:

Record low mortgage interest rates. With Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke purchasing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds by the fistful, mortgage rates have swooned to incredible lows. Thirty year mortgages at 3.25 percent may be available to those with excellent credit.

If you haven’t refinanced recently, shop around with at least two lenders. To simplify comparisons, ask them for a quote for a “no-cost loan” where you pay nothing out of pocket. Use Zillow.com to get a read on current rates. Locking in a payment for 30 years that will not increase with inflation could do wonders for your financial security.

Retirement plan cost transparency. According to an AARP survey last year, 71 percent of retirement plan participants think they pay nothing in fees at all. Nobody invests your money for free and retirement plans are no exceptions.

Starting in July 2012, retirement plans were forced to disclose all fees that you pay through quarterly and annual statements. Now that some surprised savers see that 2 percent of their savings are going to fees, HR departments across the land are reviewing their plans…………… continues on The Daily Camera

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