Forget the Benefits

Have you ever gotten to the end of the year and realized you haven’t made the most of all the benefits your school or workplace have granted you? If so, you may find yourself brainstorming creative ways to schedule unused vacation days in November and December—frantically coordinating how not to take the same time off as other employees. Or maybe you realized you never rescheduled that annual wellness check with your doctor, and now you need to squeeze it in at an inopportune time before your insurance changes. Or perhaps you find yourself rushing to the local pizzeria to stock up on your favorite items with your student discount one last time before you graduate.

The routine of day-to-day life can lead us to forget about the benefits we often pay for but never use. A 2022 survey from Credit Summit found that Americans have a collective $21 billion in unused or lost gift cards. Similarly, another report found that the average person has an estimated $175 of gift cards sitting in drawers or purses (Parija Kavilanz, “Americans Have a Collective $21 Billion in Unspent Gift Cards,” CNN, February 23, 2023, On top of that, a number of Americans have lost or unclaimed 401(k) retirement benefits from prior employment that they have not rolled into the 401(k) accounts provided by their current employer. According to Capitalize, “In May 2023, there were 29.2 million lost retirement accounts holding a whopping $1.65 trillion in assets” (Brian O’Connell, “What Are Unclaimed Retirement Benefits and How Do I Find Them?,” US News & World Report, September 18, 2023,