Whether you have a lot of money or just a little, you will want to protect every hard-earned cent.
You may have little control over the more substantial financial problems caused by the recent pandemic, but you can protect your finances on a more personal level.
With so many potential threats, here are the main ones and how you avoid them.
How to Protect Your Money
Nobody has control over having something of value stolen, but there are ways to safeguard your valuables.
Adequate insurance is one way. Another is to hide your most valued possessions away, or at least out of sight to make them harder to find.
You can also back up any critical data in case your laptop or other devices are stolen. Set up passwords that aren’t obvious and change them regularly.
Having a location tracker on your devices is helpful. If you do your banking and other financial tasks online, change passwords as soon as you can if your device goes missing.
Failure to do the above can result in identity theft. There are several other ways opportunists can steal your identity and use your good credit rating to take out and use credit cards in your name.
The author of What’s the Deal With Identity Theft, Robert M. Ryerson, covers this subject in his book and in some of his articles on Medium.
Some ways to avoid this are to never give out personal details online, over the phone, or in-person unless you can be 100% sure the company is who and what it claims to be.
Any genuine person asking for these details will understand your reluctance and will be happy for you to verify their credentials if you have any doubts.
Also, avoid social media games that may seem innocent, but are designed to draw personal information out of you, such as your mother’s maiden name, your first pet, etc., many of which are often used as password prompts.
Try to be careful when sharing images online. Ensure there are no personal details that could identify your address or credit card details.
For example, your card on the table fully or partially visible in the photo, a letter with your full or part of your address showing, or if you’re standing in front of your front door and the house name or number is visible in the photograph.
Scammers can piece this information together to steal your identity, or to prise other vital details out of you, to collate enough information to steal from you.
Having the wrong life insurance
It’s a common worry about how your family may manage if something happens to you.
Making sure you have the right life insurance may sound like a morbid way to spend your time, but it can give you the peace of mind to get on with your life without the nagging worry in the back of your mind.
Some life insurance policies only cover you for a set length of time, or until you reach a certain age. Others may provide insufficient cover, so it’s worth checking the small print and switching to a more appropriate policy if you consider it necessary.
Saving for retirement
Similarly to having the right life insurance, you also need to think ahead, this time to the best-case scenario of enjoying your retirement.
To ensure you can do that, you should check what you’re currently paying towards your pension will be enough for you to live on when you finish earning.
You can assess your finances and determine whether you can afford to pay more, or if you can downgrade your retirement plans while remaining financially comfortable enough to get by and still provide some enjoyment later in life.
If you have the option to draw down some money from your pension early, you should try to resist the temptation, and if you’re offered something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Never take anything at face value and always do your research before signing anything.
We all like to enjoy life whenever we can, but you could be wasting money on things you don’t need or on people who take advantage of your generosity.
Ask yourself if you often go for a meal or to a bar which cost substantially more than other restaurants or bars.
Do you regularly treat your friends and family? There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself or others, but if you’re always the one doing the treating and are never on the receiving end, you might want to start by having one night out where you don’t.
Anyone who values you won’t resent you for it. You could also try going somewhere cheaper; you’ll probably appreciate the upmarket places more if you visit them less frequently. There are also plenty of other ways to save money if you just give it some thought.
In short, don’t let yourself be taken advantage of, and question anything that doesn’t sound right. You can protect your finances and lower the risk of falling for a scam, bad deal, or any other financial service which isn’t right for your needs.