10 Signs You're Financially Lazy - TheStreet

10 Signs You're Financially Lazy

You pay banking fees, you don't shop for insurance, and other financially lackadaisical stuff.
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One reason that people have trouble with their finances isthat they tend to be lazy about managing them. That is not to saythat one should spend 24 hours a day making sure every littlefinancial detail is in order, but when you begin to lose money in waysthat could be solved with a small amount of time and organization,you've joined the many people who are financially lazy.

Here are 10 signs that you may be one of them:

1. You don't pay off your credit card in full each month.

Credit cards should be a tool used to your advantage and not one that keeps you in debt. If you are carrying a balance on your credit card,then you have been spending more money than you have and need torework your budget. That budget should include paying more than theminimum to defeat your previous laziness.

2. You pay banking fees.

Banking fees are usually the result of not paying attention to theamount that you have in your account. A bank is a place to keepyour money so you can earn more money, not a place to lose money bypaying fees. If you pay banking fees on a regular basis (or even everyonce in a while), you are being lazy about keeping track of how much youhave in the accounts, and you need to start keeping track so that fees areno longer a drain on your finances.

3. You still have your savings in a brick-and-mortar bank.

Part of taking care of your finances is to maximize the amount ofinterest your money earns. Most brick-and-mortar banks pay a paltryamount on their savings accounts. With online banks paying more than 5% with $1 minimums and no fees, you're being lazy with your money if you are not taking advantage of at least one of these offers. Some of these banks and their rates are: Apple Bank (5.27%), Amboy Direct (5.25%), FNBO (5.25%), Emigrant Direct (5.05%), HSBC (5.05%) and E*Trade (5.05%)

4. You don't compare your insurance rates once a year.

Insurance is a competitive industry with rates that continuallyfluctuate. No matter what type of insurance you're paying for, youshould do a comparison once a year to make sure that the rate yourpaying is competitive. If you don't get around to checking once ayear, you're being financially lazy and likely paying more than youneed to be.

5. You have more than an occasional ATM fee.

ATM fees can add up to hundreds of dollars just to get your own money. When you pay to access something that is already yours, it's a sign of financial laziness. If you haven't looked for a bank or credit union that doesn't charge ATM fees or you haven't come up with a plan so that you have enough money and don't need to accrue those ATM fees, you need to do so now.

6. Your phone service is over- or underutilized.

Most people get a phone service with certain add-ons (if a land line) or minutes (if a cell phone) and keep it. The problem is that how youthought you would use the phone and how you actually use it areoften quite different. If you have overages every month or large amounts of unused minutes on your cell phone, then you need to changethe minutes you pay for to better reflect your calling habits. If youhave options on your land line such as call waiting that you never use,you need to get rid of them. Keeping a plan that doesn't fit the wayyou use it is being financially lazy.

7. You have subscriptions you don't use.

One reason that many service providers offer a great initial deal on their services is to get you to sign up for their program. They knowthat once signed up, many people are too lazy to cancel theirsubscription. If you have subscribed to a service that you don't usebut haven't canceled it yet, you are being financially lazy. It couldbe anything from magazines that you don't read to a gym membershipthat you don't use as much as you'd planned. Whatever it is, if youare paying for something on an ongoing basis that you are not using,you need to cancel it.

8. You're not contributing to an IRA.

"I don't have enough money to contribute to an IRA" is a financially lazy excuse because the longer you wait, the more it's going to cost you due to the power of compound interest. If you don't believe that you have enough money to contribute to an IRA, then you need to sit down and make a plan for how you can afford to contribute.

9. You don't contribute the full 401(k) match your company offers.

One of the greatest perks you can get from a company you work for is matching funds for contributions you make to their 401(k) plan. If your company matches your 401(k) contributions and you are not putting in the full amount up to the match, you are basically throwing away freemoney. Throwing away free money is always being financially lazy.You need to make sure that you are investing the full match amount orfigure out a way that you can.

10. You haven't done your taxes yet.

While I am using taxes in this example, it really applies to anyfinancial matter you wait until the last minute to complete. Waitinguntil the last minute means that mistakes are much more likely tooccur, you may miss deductions that you qualify for in the rush tocomplete them, and you may incur fees if you can't get it done on time.It's a financially lazy attitude to not give yourself plenty of timeto complete all the financial tasks you have.

If you find that any of the above issues rings true to your finances, it's time to make a change. The positive point is that even if you have been financially lazy in the past, you can solve this with only a bit of effort once you recognize the areas in which you should be doing more. Learning to defeat your financially lazy impulses can go a long way to helping you get your finances in order.

Jeffrey Strain has been a freelance personal finance writer for the past 10 years helping people save money and get their finances in order. He currently owns and runs SavingAdvice.com.