I’ve made a lot of money mistakes in my life, but here are five easy fixes to avoid some of the largest financial pitfalls.
- Not having a simple budget
There is no excuse today to not have at least a basic budget. Free services like Mint.com make it so ridiculously easy to setup a budget and have it automatically update that it’s just insane not to take 5 minutes and set it up.
- Not reviewing your investments annually
No investment is “set it and forget it”. Even those target date mutual funds need to be checked in on every year. I like looking at my investments (Lending Club, ING Direct) at least once a month.
- Overdraft Charges
Every bank must now allow you to decline charges when you don’t have enough money in your account, instead of overdrafting and sticking you with a $35 fee. Call your bank and ask about their overdraft policy and make sure that you didn’t opt in to their overdraft coverage (or whatever fancy marketing lingo they call it).
- Never checking your credit report
It’s free. It’s easy. It doesn’t require a credit card or any payment at all. It’s annualcreditreport.com
You pay taxes. Take advantage of this government provided service to check your credit report. Make sure little Johnny Js. hasn’t been opening credit card accounts in your name.
- Keeping your savings at your local Big Box Bank
Do you know the average interest rate of brick and motar savings accounts at the national banks?
Yep, you read that right.
It’s crazy not to spend 5 minutes and setup a savings account online. I prefer ING Direct, but most online savings accounts are pretty good nowadays, and even though you won’t get over 1% it’s still a thousand times better than your local big box bank.