Financial Education is Good for your Health
By Kristin McGrath
April 6, 2012
My taxes: This year, I did all my tax paperwork in February — a first for me. Because I worked full time in 2011 and didn’t have any student expenses to deduct, I owe Uncle Sam for the first time ever. I have enough in savings to cover it. Yet I’m worried that I (or TurboTax) made a mistake. So I’ve been meaning to proof my return again before sending it along to the IRS. And so my tax return sits in my file cabinet as April 17 approaches, a stubborn item on the to-do list that haunts me at bedtime.
My apartment: When my former landlord raised my rent last year, I decided to move. I got a great deal on a bigger place in a good neighborhood. Turns out, however, it’s not such a great deal. The place is old, and my utility bills are about three times what they were in the more expensive, better-insulated apartment. My move is actually costing me more money — and the hunt for yet another new place (and the cost-comparison calculations) are eating up my time and sanity.
My savings: I opened a Roth IRA a year ago. I also opened a money market account for shorter-term savings goals. I patted myself on the back for these very grown-up moves — and then proceeded to neglect these accounts.
To get the ball rolling, I opened a savings account and transferred a pile of money into it. That way, I figured, I could transfer money each month into the Roth and the money market account. Yet linking my money market account at one bank to my savings account at another bank requires a bunch of paperwork I haven’t done yet. And, whenever I transfer money into the Roth, I have to decide how to invest it — so the newly transferred money will generally sit for a month or two, earning me nothing but mild stress.