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When I was in college, I opened my very first checking account. I remember being so happy and excited about it. I went to a bank, opened an account and they gave me a Debit card. I felt like such a grown up. I actually had to wait until the debit card was mailed to me.
I couldn’t wait to get my debit card in the mail. It was like getting a present from Santa himself. When I finally received the card and registered it, I went to the bank’s ATM machine and checked my balance.
I probably checked the balance 4 times a day (in between classes) for a few weeks or until the novelty wore off. I think I had about $150 bucks in my account yielding a very low interest rate. So my balance would not even move. But I just liked seeing that I had money in the back. Literally.
This was back in the late 90’s so we didn’t have smart phones and apps to check the balances in our accounts. You had to do it the old fashion way. Either by going to an ATM machine or going to your bank and speaking to a teller. I kind of miss the good old days.
The point of this story is that even as a young college kid, I already wanted to see my money working for me. Even if it was just sitting in a checking account making almost zero interest.
At the end of the month when I got paid interest in my account, I would be the happiest person in the entire world. I was so ecstatic to see my money making more money for me. I felt like it was free money. But I didn’t know I had to eventually pay taxes on it. But that’s a different story.
To this day I still check all of my accounts on an almost daily basis. But now I have much more than just my checking account to look at.
Many financial experts say that you should not check your accounts that often. Especially your retirement accounts. But I disagree with them on this one. I think checking your accounts frequently is actually beneficial to your financial well-being. Here are the reasons why.
1 – Ensure There Are No Errors in Your Accounts
When you check your financial accounts frequently, you will immediately know if anything is wrong with them. Especially with all the data breach hacking that is currently going on. If someone is using your credit cards without you knowing about it, you will know right away if that is the case when you check your account. The sooner you check, the better of course.
The same goes for your checking and all your other money bearing accounts. If there is an unauthorized transaction that took place, you will see it when you check your account. The more frequently you check, the better.
Computers can also make mistakes. There have been a number of times when a merchant (mistakenly) charged me twice for the same item. I immediately called my credit card company and disputed the charges. The sooner you know about these errors, the better.
2 – Encourages You to Invest / Save More
When you look at your checking, savings, retirement, investment, credit card and anything else I missed accounts at least once a week, it will make you want to save more. Believe it or not I know this is true.
It’s kind of like you are taking care of a plant. You want to see it grow. When you water it and see how much your plant flourishes, it will make you happy and you will want to do more of it.
The same goes for your money. When you check on your accounts frequently, you will also want to see it grow like a thriving plant.
When I first started my checking account back in college, I wanted to see that money grow and grow. Maybe that’s why I checked on it several times a day? In my weird mind, maybe magically the balance would grow overnight. If it did, it would have been a clerical error on the bank’s part. Re read the previous step.
I also think checking your financial accounts frequently does something to your psyche. It’s like you are nurturing something and want to see it grow. In the case of your credit cards, you want to see that balance grow smaller and smaller.
If you check on your money frequently and take care of, it will in turn take care of you.
3 – Forces You to Have Financial Goals
When you look at how much money you have or don’t have on a weekly basis, it will force you to have financial goals.
For instance, if you have $250 bucks to your name and you make yourself aware of it on at least a weekly basis, you will subconsciously do things to better your financial situation.
You may take on an additional job or cut unnecessary spending so that you will have more than $250 bucks in your account. But if you simply ignore this and not check up on how much money you don’t have, then you’ll just continue going down the same self destructive financial path you’ve been on.
I know many people do not want to face how little money they have. It’s much easier to deny it and ignore this fact. But you should own it. Fess up to it. The first step is to constantly remind yourself how little money you have. The best way to do this is to look at your checking account on a daily basis.
4 – Apps Make it Very Convenient to Check Your Accounts
With the rise of technology and the smart phone, it’s now that much easier to check on all of your financial accounts whenever you like and wherever you are. Gone are my old college days when I would have to go to my bank’s ATM and print out the balance on my account.
Every financial institution now has a downloadable app version you can install on your smartphone. Or if you are smart and don’t have a smart phone (not me), you can still check on all of your accounts on the internet using a computer. Just make sure it’s on a secure connection/Wi-Fi network. I would not check any of my financial accounts when I’m sitting in a café or a public place using their Wi-Fi.
I usually check all of my financial accounts at home every Saturday morning when I am sitting on the john. It’s kind of my routine. I like to check all my accounts on Saturday so I can see how the stocks in my investment and retirement portfolio performed that entire week.
I also have set up alerts on my credit cards and debit cards. Whenever a transaction is made on them, I get an alert on my phone. This is a great way to keep tabs on your spending as well as monitor any unauthorized transactions in your accounts.
So there you have it. Start checking up on all of your financial accounts more frequently. It’s a great way to face up to your financial truth so you can start improving them.
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