17 February 2013
Keeping Your Financial Life Simple

Unless you are very different from most other people, you don’t want to spend lots of time handling your finances, you don’t want to worry about your finances, and you don’t want to make your financial life any more complicated than it has to be.

Keeping your financial life simple can save time and reduce stress. Here are 10 ideas you may want to consider:

  1. Keep the number of financial accounts you have to a minimum. A checking account, a savings account, an investment account and perhaps an IRA account are the basic ones you probably need.
  2. Deal with as few financial institutions as possible. This will cut down on mail, reduce paper and make your finances easier to understand. A solid relationship with one institution may come in handy when you need to borrow money. A robust banking relationship can even qualify you for perks such as reduced fees.
  3. Use direct deposit for your paychecks. This saves time, can be safer, and puts your money to work faster.
  4. Enroll for online banking. Being able to check your balances, review your account activity and pay bills electronically is more convenient and may save some postage money.
  5. Use your ATM card wisely. Avoid frequent withdrawals, but be careful carrying too much cash. Be sure to record all your ATM activity in your checkbook.
  6. Reconcile your checking account every month. Your statement probably has a form on the back to use if you are not using personal finance software.  This can not only assure you that the balance is correct, but it may alert you to unauthorized charges or fraud.
  7. Use as few credit cards as possible. Too many cards can make spending too easy and may ultimately hurt your credit rating.
  8. Use an automatic savings plan to transfer funds each month from your checking account to your savings account. You should be able to set this up through your bank’s online banking platform. This plan can build assets, and you may not even notice that you have less to spend.
  9. Enroll in your retirement plan at work. Regular savings should help your retirement funds grow quicker, and many employers will match some or all of your contributions.
  10. Establish an organized system for paying bills. Have one place to store them, pay them on a regular basis before the due date, and establish a storage system for those you have paid, either in a filing cabinet or a digital folder.

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

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