Be This Way tagged me to be part of the personal finance confession project. She wanted to share one of her own and thought it’d be more meaningful if other people shared theirs as well. Thinking about my weaknesses actually got me motivated to act, so it was a very useful project idea.
Here’s my confession: I’m afraid.
I’m very good at being scared. I don’t like change much. So even when I know that something is a good idea, that doesn’t mean I’ll do it. At least I won’t want to do it if it involves risk. Unless something’s actively painful or frustrating, I probably won’t change it if I think something might go wrong. It actually knots my stomach.
So I let things stay at the status quo. And it’s embarrassing to admit.
I’m not too scared to pay bills or anything like that. I’m not too scared to make sure that we always have money available.
But I don’t like making big money management moves. I guess we could pinpoint it and say those are what scare me.
In thinking about all this, I pinpointed 3 money management moves I should make. And I’ve already made progress on two of them.
First, I never got direct deposit properly set up. This is because I had only just set up my Wachovia account when I started both my current jobs (not counting freelancing) and I was scared that something would go wrong and I wouldn’t have access to my money.
Then the one place’s HR department moved to another location and the second’s required a special form from my bank when I tried to set it up a few months ago (see, I really did try on this). Since the two closest Wachovias are in areas I really don’t like (one is sketchy, one has horrible traffic problems), I didn’t want to make the effort. That part’s more about hassle than fear…
After I got tagged, I took the time to go to Wachovia and get the form. Since it was Friday, there were a million people depositing their checks or cash (I just use the nearby ATM for that) in line in front of me. And then getting the form was mildly stressful. But I got it. And it’s over. I turned it in at HR and she informed me which payday the direct deposit would start. Done.
I still have to go to the other one, but it’s a start.
Second, I wasn’t keeping as much money as I should in savings. I have it set up so I can easily transfer money from ING to Wachovia if necessary (and the other way) but I had more money than I needed in my no-interest checking.
So I moved most of it to my ING account. I still have more than enough in checking. I’m comfortable with the setup and happy that my money will be earning interest.
Third, I still have my pre-marital bank account open. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but since it has a fee I should close it. If I want another checking account, I can always open a free one with Wachovia. There’s no reason to keep paying this fee. Stupid tax.
However, it scares me because I used to have some automatic debits set up. What if they don’t get moved to the new account properly? The finality of shutting down the account and the faint possibility of penalties keep me from doing it. And the awkwardness of shutting down an account whose only branch locations are in Delaware. But I suppose I could ask my dad to do it (he’s on the account) if nothing else.
So my plan for solving that is to transfer all but $250 (more than enough to cover the auto debits) and put my card away so I don’t accidentally use it. Go through my bank statement and identify all auto debits (I shouldn’t have any outstanding checks, haven’t written one from that account in 5 months). Change them all.
Leave the $250 in for another 30 days (setting a reminder). Then try to transfer that as well (I don’t know if they’ll let me transfer out everything). Do my best to close the account and get dad to do it if they want someone in person.
So that was my confession. I’m not going to actively tag anyone, but please feel free to tag yourselves. Or share in the comments about something you’ve been struggling with. I hope that you can also come up with a plan to do better. I’ll let you all know later how the rest of this goes. 🙂