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6 signs you're behind the financial times

There's a lot to be said for tried and true financial practices. However, many of the money habits of your youth may have outlived their usefulness by now.

If any of the following statements ring true for you, it may be time to seek easier, more convenient or more profitable ways to manage your money. Here are six signs you're behind the financial times -- and why you might want to catch up.

1. You still prefer checks

So you write still checks at the grocery store? You're certainly not alone, but that doesn't mean it's wise.

"Certain people still love to write checks," says Keith Klein, CFP and owner of Turning Pointe Wealth Management, a Phoenix-based firm serving clients nationwide.

Rather than fumbling for a pen in the checkout lane, why not swipe your debit card instead? Money pulled from a debit card comes from the same place as the funds for your check, but using your card offers a few distinct advantages. Most banks and merchants offer free debit card transactions -- saving you the cost of checks -- and choosing this payment method allows your transaction to show up more quickly in your electronic records. Even better, you probably have built-in fraud protection on your transactions if your debit card sports a Visa or MasterCard logo.

2. You ignore online bill payment services

Bill pay services are a beautiful thing. They make it simple to pay for everything from the mortgage to an eBay auction item.

"Online bill payments can be done automatically or one at a time," says Tim Shanahan, explaining why they can be used for virtually anything.

Shanahan, president and chief investment officer for Compass Capital Corporation, an investment firm in the greater Boston area, suggests you look beyond your financial institution to non-banking payment options as well.

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