The previous year proved to be highly challenging due to the worldwide pandemic. The nation experienced a lockdown, illnesses abounded, job loss was a common occurrence, and many people lost their lives. Now that we are in a new year, the situation is looking a little more promising. Several vaccines are on the market, we now know how to keep ourselves as safe as possible from the coronavirus, and the jobs are coming back. While it is true that we must consider our personal safety and our professional positions, it is also important that we know how to make the most of our money in this brand-new year. Continue reading to learn more.
What is the Best Strategy for Making the Most out of My Money?
The absolutely best strategy for making that money worth something to you that counts is to ensure that you always read all of the “fine print” associated with your finances.
Knowledge, as they say, truly is where your power rests. By reading all of those small-typed words associated with your bank, credit cards, loans, and other financial transactions, you will learn what -exactly -is directly available to you, what types of fees you are incurring, and all of the benefits associated with the transactions you are making.
What is a “Disclosure” from the Bank?
The documents identified as “financial disclosures” that you receive from a bank are documents that the federal laws and the state laws require to provide consumers about account offers and loan offers that they provide.
The paperwork includes information about the terms of the offer, the fees associated with it, and the interest rate of each. While lengthy, it is imperative that you read each of the financial disclosures that you receive from the bank.
What is a Deposit Disclosure?
The deposit disclosure – which is often identified as the “truth in savings disclosure” – is provided to you when a checking or a savings account is opened. This outlines the minimum balance required for the account, the fees associated with the account, any applicable interest rates, and the annual percentage yield or “APY”.
This document outlines all that you need to know about your new account.
Periodically, your bank may update this document. In most instances, this is done only when changes are made; however, it may also occur annually.
What is a Loan Disclosure?
The loan disclosure or “truth in lending disclosure” is provided to you when you get a credit card or take out a loan. This outlines the cost of the credit being provided as a yearly rate, but in terms of a percentage. It gives the finance charge or the overall cost of the credit being provided which includes the fees and the interest, which is outlined as a dollar amount.
It tells you how much credit is being extended to you and the amount of payments that you will have until the end of the loan. If this is provided for a mortgage, it will give you additional information -such as if you will incur a penalty for paying early.
What is a Privacy Disclosure?
This is a special document that a bank provides to its customers that outlines who the bank is capable of sharing your information with any why. It outlines what you can opt out of and provides detailed instructions on how to engage in such a task.
To know what information is going where, it is imperative that you read your bank’s privacy disclosure. In many instances, this will be updated annually and you may be provided with digital access to the changes made, free of charge, so that you may review the information.
What about Bank Statements?
Yes, you should review your bank statement each and every month. This will provide you with a lot of valuable information. First, it will help you identify spending habits. It will outline any fees that you have incurred. By seeing how you spend your money and what fees you accumulate, you may be able to save money each month.
For example, if that ATM by your house is charging you $3.95 every single time you withdraw money, you may just pay with a bank card at point of purchase for free or use the ATM at your bank to avoid that $3.95 ATM fee.
If you went to that ATM once every week, by making these little changes, you just saved yourself $15.80 or more a month!
What about Credit Card Statements?
If you have a credit card, it is very important that you review your statements each and every single month. You can review your spending and find areas where you may improve to save money. You will often be able to pinpoint areas where you can cut back in using your credit card.
Remember, every single time that you use your credit card, you are spending more than you should -because of the interest. By reviewing your credit card statements, you will be able to pinpoint ways to cut back and save yourself quite a bit of money.
How Do I Get a Free Credit Report?
You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each and every single year. This will allow you to review the report for completeness and accuracy.
You may receive a free credit report each year from each of the major credit report agencies – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. It is advised that you check each one carefully. If you observe anything suspicious, report it immediately.
Do I Have Unclaimed Funds?
Perhaps you have forgotten an account or maybe you have an inheritance and could not be located. In either instance, you may have unclaimed funds.
Just visit the FDIC website and search for “Unclaimed Funds”. Once you are in the proper area, search for your name. You may be surprised at what you find!