4 Tips to Stay in the Loop on your Finances
I recently read a blog post that talked about ‘the loop,’ which is essentially the browsing cycle we go through on the internet. This caused me to reflect upon my own habits on the web when I’m home relaxing in front of the computer. I found out that I have a regular routine of scanning the news, checking for any new sports information, seeing what my friends had for breakfast on social media and ensuring any emails are responded to promptly. I do this two or three times on an average night and as many as a dozen times on the weekends (please don’t judge me).
However, I’ve recently made it a point to expand the loop at least once daily to include checking my bank account and recent credit card spending, as well as my 401(k) and investment portfolio. Because as Jordan Amin, CPA, chair of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission puts it, “the first rule of personal finance is be informed.”
According to a recent survey conducted for the AICPA by Harris Interactive in recognition of National Financial Literacy Month, just 17 percent of young adults check their bank accounts daily. And it’s not for lack of time, as more than half reported checking their social media accounts at least once a day, with 7.5 times being the average.
“It’s easier than ever to spend — and it’s just as easy to monitor your spending. In particular, young adults, who often have less in savings and large expenses as they begin careers and families, should check their bank accounts regularly to verify that transactions are processed correctly and ensure they’re on track to meet financial goals,” said Amin.
The good news? The National CPA Financial Literacy Commission has four tips to help everyone stay on top of their finances.
- Check your financial status. Make a deal with yourself, when checking your friends’ social media status, take the time to check your financial status as well.
- Plan “Financial Fridays.” Each Friday, stop by an ATM, log into your bank account or call your financial institution to verify your balances and the accuracy of your transactions. If you check in on the Internet, though, be sure to do so from your home – secured – network. And don’t save financial passwords on your computer or mobile device.
- Set up text alerts with banks and credit card companies. When your balances reach pre-determined thresholds, you’ll get an automatic reminder to check in.
- Set a recurring reminder. Use your calendar to remind you to check your retirement and other long-term financial planning accounts quarterly.
To help young adults create budgets, boost savings and navigate complex financial decisions, the AICPA, in partnership with the Ad Council, created the financial education program, Feed the Pig. Sign up for weekly tips by email or text.
Once you get in the habit of checking your finances daily, you’ll hardly notice it has become part of ‘the loop’ and you’ll be empowered to make better decisions.