When life gets busy, do you notice a little pile of mail growing on your desk, on the kitchen counter, or on the corner of your dresser? We all have that spot where untended documents tend to accumulate. But if your bank statements often end up in that spot, untouched for months, you could be putting yourself at risk for a few problems. Setting aside just a few minutes each month to review those statements can help you avoid the following problems.
Surprise fees. Banks often change their fee structures, and they won’t be calling you personally to discuss them. They will include a brief notice with your account statements, and then those fees will begin to appear. Miss the notice, and you could be charged hidden fees for months before you discover them.
Tax complications. If you find yourself struggling through hours of record hunting each spring, why not set yourself up for tax filing success throughout the year? When you review your monthly account statements, use a coding system to denote tax deductible purchases, expenses for a side business, educational expenses, and so on. When you sit down to file your federal income taxes next year, most of the work will already be done.
Refund hassles. What happens if you make a large purchase, or subscribe to a service, and the product is not what you expected? Well, first you hop on the customer service carousel, a frustrating ride that can last anywhere between minutes to weeks. Often proof of payment is required before a representative can refund your money. If you regularly review and file your bank statements, it will be easier to find a copy of the canceled check.
Fraud and theft. We don’t see many Old West-style bank robberies these days, but we do see a lot of cyber-based crime. If a hacker gets ahold of your bank account information, would you notice fraudulent charges? Possibly not, if you aren’t reviewing your bank statements on a regular basis.
Taking just a few minutes each month to review your bank account statements can save you quite a few headaches in the future. For more financial planning advice, particularly with regard to retirement savings, please give us a call. We can help you identify the strategies that will help you achieve your goals.