When I got home from work Tuesday evening, there was a message on my answering machine from E*Trade. I have an account with E*Trade that I’ve used to buy stocks. I’m not an active trader. I tend to buy and hold, even for years. I don’t recommend that strategy; I don’t not recommend it; I’m just stating a fact.

I couldn’t believe what I heard. E*Trade warned me that because I hadn’t done anything with the account in the last 3 years, it was planning to turn the account over to the government unless I called. In other words, I had to take action to prevent E*Trade from turning over my property to a government–I think the California state government.

I don’t blame E*Trade. In fact, I’m grateful that someone called. So I called this morning and, sure enough, I had heard the message correctly. Had I not called, I would have lost assets worth about $6,000 (last time I checked.) But I do blame the greedy, graspy, indeed wicked, state government. And, just in case, I’m going to sell the stock and then close the account.