· Monitor your
a modern miracle that we can access our bank and credit card accounts online
24/7. Checking your transactions and balances daily on your smart phone, tablet
or desktop computer allows you to keep tabs on spending, especially if you
don’t regularly balance a checkbook. It’s also a good way to spot fraud or
mistakes. The sooner you see something wrong, the faster you can resolve the
problem (or in the case of identity theft, limit the damage). On the other
hand, if you allow too much time to pass before identifying a banking error,
you may be out of luck. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you have 60 days from the date
a problem or error was documented in a statement (online or in print) to
contact your financial institution.*
attention to your daily financial transactions. Despite the
aid of automation, human beings still make mistakes. It’s not unusual for a
sale item to be rung up at full price, or for a store clerk to provide
incorrect change. The distraction of cell phones and our “hurry-up” culture doesn’t
help matters. With the number of cash, check, debit and credit card
transactions you make every year, even losses of a dollar here or five dollars
there can add up to a significant amount. You can avoid common mistakes during
routine financial transactions by being more aware as your items are scanned at
the checkout register. Do the mental math as the clerk hands you your change.
For good measure, check the receipt for accuracy and, if there’s a problem,
quickly and kindly point out the error so it can be corrected.
· Save your
receipts.Your receipt is a record of your transaction that can help you monitor your
accounts. If there’s a dispute – for example, if an ATM gives you the wrong
amount – your receipt may be your only recourse for resolving the discrepancy. Most
merchants require a receipt in order to return or exchange an item you
purchased. Finally, if you itemize business-related or medical expenses, you’ll
need receipts to tally your deductibles and substantiate your tax return in the
event of an audit. If you don’t like handling the paper, request digital
receipts, which are becoming more common.
· Respect your
you find yourself wondering where your money goes every month, take note of how
you spend your hard-earned dollars. Consider shifting to cash for a week
instead of using a debit or credit card. This will help you really see what
you’re spending. You may be surprised at how doing this can help you get a
better grasp on how much you spend.
These common sense reminders are small but
important steps to help you put your financial house in order as you start the new
calendar year. Take your resolve one step further and meet with a financial
advisor for a financial tune up. Together you can identify specific goals for spending,
saving and investing in the new year.
Financial Advisor, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® practitioner
19950 Dodd Blvd. Ste 102-202
Lakeville, MN 55044
Steven J. Gehrke, CFP®, MBA, is a Financial
Advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®
practitioner with Ameriprise Financial Services,
Inc. in Lakeville, MN. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset
management strategies and has been in practice for 13 years.
This communication is published in the United States for residents of Minnesota only; and this advisor is licensed only in the state(s) of MN.