Money Smarts Blog
Week 1: Financial Housekeeping Challenge
Jun 29, 2020 || Nikki Dingman, Contact Center Agent
While states are slowly opening back up among the Coronavirus pandemic, we still find ourselves spending more and more time at home. Take advantage of this time to tidy up your financial health.
I’m not just referring to the amount in your savings account – though we’ve all learned during this pandemic how important financial padding can be. Your financial health is much more than this, which is why we’re going to start
the discussion with some basic fund management: knowing what funds you have and where they’re located.
Start with your deposit accounts.
I think I had been living in the Quad Cities for a good 5 years before I remember I still have a small balance in my first savings account that my wonderful parents set up for me back in Wisconsin.
- Do you still have a childhood savings accounts?
- What about a 401(k) from an old job you haven’t checked on or rolled over?
- Did you ever get a loan from a financial institution, like a credit union, that required you to open a savings account?
- What about any Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), accounts?
Make a list; type them all out in a document or spreadsheet or go old school with pen and paper.
Move on open lines of credit, including loans.
Remember that store credit card you opened to jump to the head of the line while Black Friday Shopping? It goes on the list. Did you get a store credit card to help finance a furniture purchase or to buy an engagement ring? Put it on the list. Whether
it’s a credit card you use regularly or just that once, if it’s still open it goes on the list.
Right now, you’re probably wondering, “What did happen to those cards after I paid off the initial balances?” A free copy of your credit report will help jog your memory. Mortgage, home equity, auto, personal and student loans
should all be included as well.
Update your contact information.
Reach out to every financial institution from your two previous lists to make sure they have your current contact information, including address, phone number and email address. While you’re at it, double check to see who else may be joint on the
account or loan with you. You don’t want an ex to be unintentionally (or vindictively) ruining your credit history.
Sign up for online banking wherever you have money or loans; this is your money, and you need to be an expert on the subject! Online accounts allow you to monitor your funds more carefully than relying on monthly or quarterly statements.
Challenge: Go paperless.
Sign up for eStatements or paperless billing for all of your accounts. Typically, eStatements are available sooner than a paper statement, and by cutting out the paper, you immediately increase your account security. Every time you get a paper statement, it means your personal information is printed out and at risk of being lost or stolen. Cut this security risk by having these important documents sent straight to your online account or email.