Three Quick Finance Tips for Simple Fall Living
Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA – Family Finance –
Fall is an excellent time to streamline your accounts and purge the unneeded and unused. Many people open bank accounts, set up domain names and sign up for magazine and newspaper subscriptions with intentions of doing something big or different.
Then days, months, and even years go by and nothing happens. The good idea is forgotten or requires too much effort. But rather than revisit these initial and sometimes knee jerk decisions, these accounts and subscriptions linger idly.
Small Retirement Accounts: 401K Plans
If you have less than $1,000 in a retirement account and you have several accounts, consider rolling them all into one so that you have fewer accounts to track. Also, consolidating your accounts can allow you to invest in higher performing mutual funds or exchange traded funds that have minimum investment requirements to enroll.
Multiple Small Balance Bank Accounts
If you’ve ever moved or gotten fed up with your bank, chances are you’ve opened a new checking or savings account since it is so easy to do. It is also likely that you set it up, made the minimum deposit and never got around to using it for the intended purpose. If that sounds familiar to you, now is a good time to consider whether you still need that extra account. This is especially important as many banks are implementing new fee schedules following the banking regulation that took effect in the summer of 2010. If this applies to you, check your accounts immediately to ensure that these extra fees haven’t already kicked in causing your idle account to have a negative balance.
Lastly, I am always talking about excess mail because I have it all over my home. If you have recurring expenses such as student loans, credit cards, and auto loans that you pay online via the loan servicer’s website, go ahead and opt out of the paper statements that you don’t open anyway. Develop a habit of logging in to the accounts twice per month to track your spending and balances. This will help you recognize and dispute fraudulent transactions or double charges in a timely manner. Also, in the case of credit cards, more frequent logins will help you gauge how much you’ve spent over the month so that you aren’t too far off from your budget at the end of the month.
By performing these quick moves you will free yourself from the headache of having to find some place to store all of this excess paper.
Use October, to regain your space. Clean out your wallet, your filing cabinet, and your snail mail files. If you come across any Visa or MasterCard check cards and checkbooks for bank accounts that you forgot you had, shred them. Similarly, for your snail mail, take a hard look at what you haven’t opened and consider why. Then sit down in front of your computer and start opting out of the monthly paper statements and end unnecessary subscriptions.
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