Financial Things I Don't Do
One understated perk of being a financial planner is that you get to hear a lot of good stories.
Sometimes when I let people know what I do for a living, they’ll share a little story about something they experienced recently in the financial world. Often, I hear people dealing with things in ways that are alien to me — why would you do it that way?
I decided to take a recent example and turn it into a short list of Financial Things I Don’t Do.
(This list applies to myself as a consumer, not as an advisor or planner.)
Read credit card statements
I don’t mean to insinuate that no one ought to read their credit card statements, but I personally don’t. I import credit card transaction histories into a dashboard (tons of options available but I use Tiller) to keep track of spending.
I do categorize every single transaction, so I know what’s going on, but I don’t use my statements nor the notifications from my credit card companies to do so.
Perhaps controversial, I hope you know what I mean — I don’t, generally, manually press “Pay” on most of my bills. Which is to say, I utilize autopay everywhere possible. I recognize that this is a risk, both in terms of “autopay creep” in which I end up auto-spending more than I ought to, and for my vendors to make errors. I won’t pretend that has not happened, but you just have so much protection with credit cards these days that it’s not enough risk to turn me off of auto-pay for most things.
My suggestion for someone who thinks that this can’t work is to keep more cash in checking than you otherwise think you ought to.
Balance my checkbook
OK fine, no one is doing this anymore, but that includes me.
Follow individual stock prices
This can be awkward when people hear what I do and want to talk about their big winners. Sorry buddy. Not only do I not care about yours in particular, I don’t care about anyone’s. I follow flows, factors, indices, and the writings of investors I respect. Not the charts of individual equities, because I lack both the time & interest. It’s a waste of focus.
Go to the bank
Partially a lie. You have to show up for a few things (like opening a new business bank account), and I recently learned that you can get free Notary services at Wells Fargo, so I’ve been in a bank branch probably 3-4 times this year. But I generally don’t need them.
Not so bad, eh? If I wrote the opposite, “Financial Things I Do Do”, this would be extremely long, and probably a snooze. Stay tuned for that one.