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Spring Cleaning - An Old Tradition Re-visited in Finances

5/16/17 (Tue)

As tradition would have it, May 1st would roll around, and it was mandatory walls were scrubbed, curtains washed, woodwork polished to a shine and the mattresses vacuumed and flipped.  This style of cleaning was tradition and had a sense of timing and preparation whether walls needed washing or not, or rugs and mattresses needed beating with a broom.  There’s something very nostalgic about washing windows with newspaper and vinegar; perhaps it had a different intent all together now that I reflect on it from my own childhood.

Spring cleaning should happen with finances as well. We often have accounts that are somewhat dormant, just sitting there with minimal balances and more than likely, costing you money. Over the years we have all opened vacation fund accounts, Christmas accounts and college accounts. Those accounts can continue to serve a purpose if you continue to fund them and don’t allow them to sit there. With the changes in banking and financial statements moving to on-line statements only, it’s wise to review your bank accounts to make sure you are not being charged for dropping below a minimal balance, or being charged for an inactive account.  I am respectful of the fact banks want and need to make money, but it shouldn’t happen because we have not done your own spring cleaning of our finances.

A three dollar and fifty cent charge might not seem like much for a month, but our lack of attention adds up to $42 annually. That buys a tank of gas!  What if you have more than one account pulling a monthly fee?  Take a look. Make the time to review your bank statements, or simply visit with your local banker.   I know for a fact, they are happy to assist you. 

I am well aware of people who have never transferred their 410(k) retirement accounts when changing jobs.  They have not taken time to consolidate those accounts, losing financial wealth along the way.  When leaving a job with a 401(k), take the time and energy to move your old account into a new one and consolidate where you can. With a bit of effort and organization, you will have more money, earning more wealth in the long term.  This spring, I encourage you to review your finances including your bank accounts, investment accounts and your insurance premiums. Do a thorough review of your accounts, scrub them clean, and find out if you’re losing money in the nickel and dimes category or in big bills. I know it to be true, a thorough review will put more money in your pocket.  You never know, a thorough scrubbing in your bank accounts may shake lose some additional money in your favor!

To learn more visit our website at www.nd.gov/treasurer to find financial literacy resources and detailed fiscal information regarding our State.  Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for current information relating to your dollars and our office.