Step 99: Protect your Money Online

Step 99 of the 100 Steps Mission to Financial Independence: Protect Your Money Online
Step 99: Protect Your Money Online

Having money is one thing, but making sure you keep it and don’t lose it on dodgy scams or to people getting access to your accounts is a whole different thing. Now that you can access your accounts via the internet pretty much 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world and from any device you have, it has also become significantly easier for those with bad intentions to gain access to this money if they want to. This steps looks at ways to protect your money online to minimize the risk of you money being taken away from you.

Keep money in accounts with verified or associated accounts access only

Many savings and investments accounts already offer this option, which essentially means that you can’t access your savings or investments directly and instead requires you to transfer money into a regular checking account first before being able to get access to your money. That regular account needs to be validated first when you set up your savings account and it means that others even if they gain access to your savings or investments account, can’t just divert the money into non-associated accounts, but to verified accounts only.

Choose difficult passwords and change them often

Most people have very weak passwords with their pet’s or children’s names, they don’t change their passwords very often and they tend to use the same passwords for several accounts, which makes it them easy target for fraudsters to try to hack. Make sure to choose difficult passwords and change them often. One way of doing this is by using a password manager that lets you store complicated passwords so there is no need to remember each one. Examples of password managers include LastPass, KeePass and OneSafe. When using these password managers you only need to remember one master password to get access to all your other ones. You can use a very difficult one by keeping a long string of random characters saved somewhere of which only you know which chunk(s) actually represent your real password. Continue reading

Step 87: Play the What If.. game

Step 87 of the 100 steps mission to financial independence: Play the What If... Game
Step 87: Play the What If… Game

Being prepared for adverse financial situations is an important step to take on your way to financial freedom. Without wanting to sound demotivating (or even morbid), the “what if..” game forces you to think of unwanted but possible situations that might happen and that would set you back on your journey to financial freedom and in some cases would have far bigger consequences than just the financial effects.

We’ve already established the importance of an emergency fund for those times you have a big unexpected one-off expense you need to pay and you should also be well on your way to getting together a 3-6 month living fund in case you (or your partner) lose your main source of income and need to make ends meet until you find another job or income.

Whereas the emergency and living funds prepare you to financially deal with the consequences of a financial setback quickly and efficiently, the “what if…” game prepares you psychologically for any behavioural changes you might need to make to adjust to smaller or bigger changes in your life that might require you to adapt on a longer term.

So let’s get playing… Continue reading

Step 62: Warranties and Service Contracts

Step 62 of the 100 steps to financial independence: Warranties and Service Contracts
Step 62: Warranties and Service Contracts

When you make a big purchase such as a new car or appliance for your house, the selling company often provides a warranty on the product. The warranty is a guarantee for a set period of time during which the manufacturer promises a correct functioning of the product and to replace or repair the product if the product is faulty.

Warranties are very important to understand and keep as they can save you a lot of money and worries if you ever need them. This step will look at warranties and extra warranties in detail, so you can assess any current warranties you have and to allow you to compare and evaluate warranties on any future purchases.

What a warranty typically includes

Normally a warranty will specify and /or include the following:

  • How long it is valid for. For some products this might be no more than 6 months, other products might be covered for several years.
  • What circumstances might void the warranty. The manufacturer often includes reasons why a warranty might cease to be valid, such as not having done regular maintenance check ups and servicing or using the product incorrectly.
  • Services included: what happens if the product is faulty? Will it be replaced, repaired or will your money be refunded?
  • Services excluded: this might not actually be stated in the warranty, but make sure you find out what is not included if your product fails. Think of costs to do with transporting the product to the shop or factory, labor charges etc.
  • Does it include costs you might have as a consequence of the product being faulty? For example if your washing machine floods your house, will the damage to other objects and furniture be covered, or if the fridge-freezer breaks will you be reimbursed for any of the contents gone off?

Continue reading