5 Lessons From Numerous Bank Errors
Recently, $15,400 landed in my account unexpectedly with no description except ‘admin’. I had no idea what this money was for, where it came from or what to do with it.
At the same time, I was waiting on the payment of a much smaller invoice. After some follow-up, it turned out that invoice was paid into an old account.
On top of that, I was having issues with the tax department over my tax return. My return needed to have an amendment done as I forgot to add one thing (the rest was prefilled). Issues with this went on for months.
The $15,400 happened on Friday, and then on Monday, I found out what it was for and it was not mine. That same Monday, the $700 happened and I finally got a call about the tax issues. Only for me to have to teach and show the person on the phone what tax was payable and why etc. Luckily, I knew my stuff and had the proof.
All 3 of these took time and energy away from my work and personal life. I felt stuck.
When the $15,400 hit my account I actually froze. It was unexpected and suddenly, I didn’t know what to do with my money, despite being all over it normally.
I realised with all these money issues, something has to change. I need to get serious about my money, streamline it and get more organised than I ever have before.
1. Know All Your Accounts and the Details
Often, people sign up for bank account bonuses then end up with an account they don’t need or use. Check your banking, know what money is doing, where it’s going and then close any unnecessary accounts.
That old account the $700 went into really should have been closed by now. Due to my work and referral bonuses from banks, I have too many accounts.
These bank errors were the push I needed to close the accounts I don’t need and streamline the rest. Essentially, I need the business accounts, a personal account, we have a joint account for expenses with the kids etc and a joint savings account for Vanuatu and things we agree to save for together.
Yet, I have accounts with 6 banks right now, 3 I get referral bonuses through so don’t want to close them. The rest are unnecessary now.
What I need to do is edit a few payments to go into and out of another account then close them. It’s not hard, I’ve just been lazy about it which costs time, money and energy. (Note, none of these accounts have extra fees, they are fee free. It would be worse if I was accruing monthly fees on top.)
2. Work Out Your Goals
What are your money goals? Do your bank accounts and how you manage money reflect that?
Having my money managed through different accounts instead of one is a pain. There is more to check, more to juggle and when applying for rentals, I had to send across so much paperwork.
None of that aligns with my money goals. These banking errors brought to light just how far away from my goals I am with how I manage my money.
How can I expect money to flow to me quickly and easily when my financial process is such a mess?
3. Decide on the Accounts you Need
In general, the following is used or recommended:
Daily expenses account
Sanity/Splurge/Fun money account
Larger expenses account
An emergency fund
If you are partnered, a joint account and joint savings account are good as well as having your own.
Some people prefer to have multiple accounts for various large bills such as car registration, insurances, medical expenses etc. I have them in one account, the larger expenses account and pay for them as they come up.
The bank errors made me look at the accounts, what I want to use them for and change their names to match my goals. Plus, with Up Bank I can set an emoji for the account so the joint account for Vanuatu has the Vanuatu flag.
4. Cancel, Close and Open Anything you Need to
I have already mentioned it but will again, get rid of what you don’t need. If it isn’t being used, close it. There are rare exceptions to this rule but in general, if you aren’t using it, it’s a waste of time and energy to have it.
If you are paying fees on any banking products, look for fee free options or how you can get those reduced. Also, check the interest rates on anything you have, even call and ask for a better deal.
It’s your money. Make it work for you instead of wasting it on fees.
Look at your money and work out what you can automate. Most of our bills are paid by direct debit. I have a reminder set in my calendar for when things are due. Investing is mostly automated, as is savings.
The less I have to manage my money, the easier it is. In general, I prefer to have enough sitting in the expenses account to cover anything that comes up instead of having to transfer money as needed.
Doing it this way, late fees aren’t an issue, discounts are usually offered for direct debit and pay on time so I save money too.
6. Get On Track: Money Meetings
Our finances (well, the bank accounts) are reviewed on a daily basis. This is to ensure no scamming or similar happens and if it does, we can resolve it quickly.
Money meetings happen weekly in our house and cover what was spent, upcoming expenses, goals and tracking where we are at. Money wins can also be celebrated.
Being open with the kids about money has enabled them to learn and as a result, my eldest is better at saving than I ever was.
Money Manage Books I Recommend
Sometimes, getting on top of finances is a little trickier so reading a book that outlines what to do can help. Here are a few I recommend.
Essential reading for any business owner, Profit First shows you how to implement a system and guarantee you actually have profit sitting in your account at the end of the financial year.
Money With Jess
Jess writes a regular money column and her book, Money With Jess is a great way to set up your finances. She also shares numerous tips for all areas of the budget to save money.
The Automatic Millionaire
If you want to know more about automating your finances, how and why you should, The Automatic Millionaire is a wonderful read.
Life Admin Hacks
Not only for your finances but your life in general. Life Admin Hacks will share all the ways to destress your life by streamlining all the general admin tasks that build up.
How do you streamline your finances?