Watch Your Money – Personal Finance Basics
Recently I had a misadventure with my money. My automobile insurance company called a a couple months ago to let me know that they wanted to give me a deal. I could change from one company to a new one and it would save me $30 a month. It seemed like a no-brainer to make the switch. Those are the personal finance basics I like. I signed the paperwork and left it at that. Having a spotless driving record pays for itself. Normally I would recommend that you take care of these kinds of contracts well before they call you, because let’s face it, they will try and avoid giving out deals if they can.
I was thrilled. I had been using an older savings account from which my old insurance was being withdrawn and decided to use a new account for this new insurance company. Mistake number one. I didn’t check the old bank account. I more or less forgot it existed. The simple plan was to assume that all was well and planned to let the minute amount of money in the account collect a couple cents worth in interest every week or so.
Fast forward half a year. My bank calls to let me know something is wrong. I have an account that is in a negative balance by almost $500. How can this happen? I always pay attention to what I buy and budget my finances accordingly. When I saw the statement from the said account the issue was strikingly clear. The old insurance coverage plan had not been cancelled by my broker. They had continued to withdraw money from the old dormant bank account for six months to the tune of close to $1,000.
Monitoring your money is a simple personal finance basics we all need to take care of. It’s easy to make a mistake like this and this is the type of error that is totally avoidable. I was both angered and slightly red faced about this situation. ‘How could I let this happen?’ I kept asking myself on the route to clear it all up. I’ve always known how to manage my money since I had my paper route when I was a young teen. I have never had a negative balance in my account. The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to always check your dormant accounts. Even if there is a balance of zero in the account, a person with ill intentions could either steal valuable information about your identity or they could steal deposit bogus checks and then withdrawl that money before the check clears.
I’m happy to say that my insurance broker apologized and rectified the situation immediately. Things could have been worse. Much worse. As I said earlier, for the same amount of time a person with ill intent could have taken out massive amounts of money without me knowing and I could have been left to foot the bill. My advise to pay attention to your cash is easily the most simple of the personal finance basics to follow. If you have a unused account close it. If you have a credit card you never use, cancel it. Your hard earned money can disappear if you don’t stay on top of it.