smart spending

7 steps to clean up financial clutter

Consolidate bank accounts
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Most people need only one or two bank accounts, perhaps one at a national or regional bank and another at a regional bank or credit union, says Ronit Rogoszinski, a wealth advisor at Arch Financial Group in Long Island, N.Y. More accounts mean only more paperwork, fees and exposure to identity theft. Forgotten accounts can be declared abandoned and confiscated by the state.

To clean up your bank accounts:

  • Make a list of the accounts.
  • Research which offer the best services at the lowest cost.
  • Stop or transfer any automatic deposits or payments on the less attractive accounts.
  • Instruct the financial institutions to close those accounts.

"A lot of banks have decreased overdraft protection or eliminated it, so you want to maintain that relationship with a bank that lets you maintain that line. Even if you don't need it, you want to hang onto it because getting that today is very hard," Rogoszinski says.




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