Personal Finance

5 Rules To Help You Protect Your Money

The financial crisis in 2008 shook our trust in banks. For the first time, people started to realize that the banks that they trusted to keep hold of their money were not as stable as we once thought and there was always a chance that they could fail. Your money is insured, of course, but there’s no telling what could happen if there was another crash even bigger than that one. That’s why more and more people are looking for ways to protect their money.

You’ve also got to consider protecting your money against the effects of inflation. Most people think that if you put your money in a savings account, it’s only going to increase in value. It’d be great if that were true but it isn’t. If inflation levels are higher than the level of interest on your savings account, your cash will actually start to lose value in real terms.

On top of that, you need to think about protecting your money from criminals. This is especially important as cyber-crime is on the rise and these people are finding new ways to crack security systems every single day. Your money is never as safe as you think it is so you should take these steps to protect it.

Spread It Out

If you’re the victim of fraud or a cyber-attack and criminals gain access to your account, they’ll clean you out. The bank will insure this money up to a point and you’ll get it back but you’ll still be out of pocket for a couple of days until it’s resolved, which can put you in a bit of a sticky financial situation. If you’ve just got the one bank account and it’s compromised, that’s all of your money gone. You obviously don’t want that so it’s important to spread it out. Even if you’ve got a savings account and a current account with the same bank, that’s still a little risky. It’s worth opening another account with a different bank and keeping some of your money in there. The chances of them both being cleaned out at the same time are small so even if one of your accounts is compromised, you’ll still be able to get by until you get that money back.

Check Your Account Every Day

Sometimes, fraudsters won’t take large sums of money in one go, they’ll take small amounts over a long period of time so nobody notices. If you let this go on for a while before realizing, it’s harder for the bank to work out who’s doing this. In order to stop that from happening, you should be checking your account every day. Most people have mobile banking now so it’ll only take you a second to check each morning and see if there is any money going out that shouldn’t be. The quicker you alert the bank and the police to fraud, the quicker you’ll get your money back.

However, it’s important to remember where you are when you’re accessing your online banking. If you’re in public, using an open wifi connection, you’re putting yourself at risk of attack. Even if its password protected, you can’t be sure that it’s secured so you should only be accessing online banking when you’re at home on your own wifi. It’s probably obvious but it’s also worth mentioning that you need to use secure passwords as well. Make sure you’re using a combination of letters and numbers and it’s not something that can be easily linked to you like the name of a pet etc. people can easily find that information about you on your social media profiles.

Use Credit Cards For Big Purchases

The fraud prevention rules for debit and credit cards are quite different and you have a lot more protection and compensation rights on a credit card than you do a debit card. That’s why it’s worth using a credit card for larger purchases. That way, if something goes wrong, you’ll be insured for that money. The most common purchase that people do this for is plane tickets; if the flight is cancelled or you can’t go for any reason, you’ll lose it all if you used a debit card. But if you bought them on a credit card, you can get that money back. It’s also important that you report lost or stolen cards right away because if you leave it more than 60 days, you aren’t eligible to get the money back.

Paper Statements

Paper statements are dying out because electronic is easier and better for the environment, but it might be worth turning those paper statements back on. If all of the information about your bank accounts are stored electronically, what happens if your bank is the victim of a cyber-attack and they’re lost or there is a malfunction on their computer systems. In that situation, you wouldn’t be able to prove how much money you had in there and it’ll be a lot harder to convince the bank to replace your money.

Invest Your Money

If you want to protect your money against the risk of high inflation, or you just want to spread it out so it’s not all in one place, investing is the way to go. Real estate is one of your best options because it’s a good investment that is likely to increase in value, and you can generate revenue by renting the place out. It’s also good to have some of your money in asset form, rather than cash. You aren’t at risk of fraud or inflation increases if a big chunk of your money is tied up in property.

Stocks can be a good investment but you’ve got to be careful, it depends what you’re trying to protect your money from really. If you’re just worried about it stagnating in a savings account then investing in stocks is a good way to see regular growth. But if you’re worried about the risks of another financial crisis, you might want to steer clear of stocks. The value will plummet if there is another crash and you could lose all of your savings.

Follow these 5 rules and your money will be protected against anything and everything.

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